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Federal Ban on Ads by Legal, Private Gambling Casinos Stricken
Description Supreme Court reversed lower courts and struck down a federal law that prohibited the broadcasting of advertisements for legal casino gambling. Such a restriction violates the First Amendment and no substantial interest by the government was shown to justify the regulation.
Topic Constitutional Law
Key Words Free Speech; Advertising
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts The Federal Communications Commission, based on a federal statute, prohibited radio and television broadcasters from carrying advertising about private, commercial gambling casinos. Broadcasters contended they have the right to advertise the availability of legal casino gambling in Louisiana and Mississippi. Lower courts upheld the restrictions on advertising; broadcasters appealed.
Decision Reversed. The government may not prevent advertisements of lawful private casino gambling. The Central Hudson four-part test applies here. The activity is lawful and the advertisements are truthful. The alleged government interest in reducing the demand for gambling because it increases social costs cannot stand scrutiny since Congress has not chosen to prohibit the activity. The government failed to identify a substantial interest that is directly advanced by the restriction.
Citation Greater New Orleans Broadcasting Assn. v. U.S., 119 S.Ct. 1923 (1999)

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