In a decision released last week, the FCC imposed a fine of $4000 on a broadcaster licensed to a community in the state of Arkansas for airing an advertisement for the Missouri State Lottery. In this case, a station licensed to Arkansas ran a remote broadcast from a store in Missouri. During the course of the remote, the on-air announcer invited listeners to come to the store and made some not-too-subtle remarks implying that, when they did, they could buy Missouri lottery tickets. As there is a statutory provision prohibiting a station located in one state from running an ad for a lottery in another state if its own state does not have a lottery, the Commission issued this fine.
This ban is based on a statute passed by Congress, and approved by a Supreme Court decision 15 years ago – finding a compelling state interest in protecting the citizens of states that ban gambling from allowing stations in their states from advertising that prohibited activity. Of course, in many cases, a station licensed to one state may be heard (and may in fact be physically located) in another state. Even so, the city of license is what counts – so a station has to observe the laws of that state. In some cases, that can mean that there are different rules that apply to different stations in the same cluster (and possibly located in the same building, with advertising being sold by the same sales people).Continue Reading No State Lottery in Your State? – No Gambling Ads Even For a State Lottery In a Nearby State