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Atlantic City Official: First Amendment Protects Casinos' Ads

6 June 2003

TRENTON, New Jersey – As reported by the Press of Atlantic City: “Acting Attorney General Peter Harvey said Thursday there is no existing law that prohibits the casino association from financing ads that criticize the governor's proposed taxes on the casino industry.

"…`They have a First Amend-ment right to do that. ... There does come a point where issue commentary could cross the line. Where that line is, we don't know. There is not a body of law developed in that area that tells us where the line is.’

“State Sen. Bill Gormley, R-Atlantic, wrote Harvey earlier this week asking the state's top law enforcement officer to clarify that the Casino Control Act only prohibits casino license holders from making political contributions, not financing political issue ads.

“…The radio ads, which began running May 23, blast Mc-Greevey for proposing tax hikes on the casino industry, with one actor remarking that the governor `must really hate South Jersey.’

“McGreevey, looking to fill a substantial budget deficit, proposed hiking the casino revenue tax from 8 percent to 10 percent and imposing the sales tax on complimentary rooms and meals offered to casino patrons…”

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