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A Supreme Court Victory for Gambling

13 January 1999

The United States Supreme Court, for the second time in a year, has refused to recognize the federal government's argument that a ban on television and radio gambling advertising is necessary to save compulsive gamblers from themselves.

Last February, the Court refused to review a 9th Circuit Court ruling that struck down the ban in nine western states. Yesterday the Court refused to grant fast-track review of another decision by a New Jersey judge that free-speech rights are violated by such a ban. Government lawyers had asked the Supreme Court to review that ruling even before the case had been considered by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Philadelphia, but the justices, acting without comment, let the New Jersey ruling stand. Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia currently advertise lotteries, and by extension the liberalization of other types of gambling advertising. One U.S. District Court-the 5th, based in New Orleans, has upheld the ban-and the Supreme Court has yet to consider that decision.

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