Legislator Wants to Ban Nevada Casino Ads in Utah

Legislator Wants to Ban Nevada Casino Ads in Utah

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Since gambling is illegal in Utah, those Nevada casinos supported by Utah gamblers should not be allowed to advertise in the Beehive State, one legislator contends.

Rep. Scott Wyatt, R-Logan, has proposed House Bill 123, which would make it a class B misdemeanor to advertise gambling directed at Utahns.

Nevada Gaming Control Board figures show two Utah border towns, Nevada's Mesquite and Wendover, collect about $4 billion in slot machines a year and Wyatt says that mainly comes from Utah residents.

"Utah either needs to be in the business or out of the business," he said. "If we're a state that's against gambling, then we ought to stay true to that."

Wyatt's bill would affect newspaper advertisements and billboards on interstate highways headed to the border towns.

HB123 was scheduled to be heard in committee, but Wyatt has heard from some advertisers that the ban could put them out of business, and he is considering sending the bill to summer study.

Attorney Brian Barnard, who successfully sued the state over restrictions on advertising alcohol, said the proposal is "in questionable territory and I question the wisdom of it," Barnard said. He says that gambling is legal in one form or another in states adjoining Utah and the law would punish Utah's newspapers, radio stations and billboard companies who now reap money from the ads.

HB123 also would make it illegal to advertise prostitution. Wyatt said that has not been a problem and he wants to make sure in never becomes one.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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