|by Earl Williams |
A potential First Amendment case could be in the making over the request, from the Colorado State Attorney General's office, to four terrestrial radio stations in Denver to stop broadcasting advertisements for Internet casinos and sports books. The stations are KOA-850 AM, KTLK-760 AM and KHOW-630 AM, operated by Clear Channel Communications, and KKFN-950, a station operated by Jefferson Pilot Communications.
The state feels the advertisements give the impression that wagering on the Internet is legal in Colorado. Ken Lane, speaking for the attorney general's office, said the two operators were sent in December a letter asking them to stop the broadcasts in all four stations. Lane characterized this request as being without the threat of legal action, and it was '... more of a, 'Hey, we think this may be a violation of law, you might want to reconsider running these ads,'' sort of approach. Lane said the request was made out of respect for Colorado's consumer protection acts.
Violations of the state's consumer protection acts can result in fines of as much as $2,000, more in the case of repeated offenses. 'Our letter is concentrated on the potential deceptive business practices, which would be consumer fraud--state law,' he said. 'An argument can be made that they violate criminal state law, but this is strictly from a state law standpoint.'
Lane said the attorney general's office got from Jefferson Pilot a letter stating it would stop broadcasting the questionable advertisements. As for the other operator, 'We understand that Clear Channel is reviewing it, but they're not accepting ads now anyway ... They said that if they're illegal they won't run them, but we don't have anything in writing to that effect,' Lane said.