Government regulation of gambling advertising: Replacing vice prevention with consumer protection
- Cite this article as:
- Rothman, M. & Robbins, H. J Gambling Stud (1991) 7: 337. doi:10.1007/BF01023750
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From 1895 to 1975, federal law forbade gambling advertising by use of the mail, interstate commerce, and the broadcast media. Congress exempted state lotteries in 1975 and charitable gambling (including casino games) in 1988. However, the Supreme Court requires a significant government interest, directly applied and narrowly tailored, in order to justify a commercial speech regulation. The exemptions for private charity casino games has arguably destroyed any constitutionally defensible government interest in restricting for-profit casinos. Casinos in new gambling jurisdictions (such as Iowa or Illinois) will probably push the hardest for an exemption for all legal gambling, as they have the most to gain from the freedom to advertise. Federal regulation of gambling advertising will fall to the Federal Trade Commission under prohibitions against “unfair or deceptive” trade practices. But as State regulations are not well developed even in states that permit casino gambling, there is a pressing need for new research to review state laws regulating gambling advertising and to propose a model statute.