NFL turns down Las Vegas Super Bowl commercial

NEW YORK - The National Football League has kiboshed a Super Bowl advertisement that the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority had planned to run during the game later this month.

The NFL has exercised a clause in its contract that allows it to ban gambling-related advertising running during the American football final.

The ad shows a woman getting into a limousine wearing an evening dress and exiting the airport dressed in business clothes. However, despite the ad being for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority it makes no mention of gambling.

The issue is particuarly sensitive for the NFL as Nevada is the only state that allows legalised sports betting. The move was criticised by Rob Powers, a spokesman for the convention authority who said that gaming was so common in the US that the stigma was largely diminished. He said that Las Vegas had evolved into a resort destination.

Powers added that while the convention understood the NFL's policy against gambling related advertising, he argued that the NFL did not necessarily have to continue to enact the policy. "Just because the policy has existed doesn't mean it should continue to exist."

Speaking to the New York Times, Dennis Lewin, the league's senior vice-president for broadcasting, said: "Our policy is very clear. It's been in the contracts for a long time."

Lewin added that regardless of the creative content of the commercial, the NFL would reject it "even if there was no reference to gambling. And that's not new," he said.

With Super Bowl ad space more than 90% sold, ad spots include Pepsi; Southwest Airlines; H&R Block featuring country music legend Willie Nelson playing up his tax troubles; and, the global recruitment and careers website owned by TMP Worldwide, which is advertising during the Super Bowl for the fifth year running.

The ad for Southwest Airlines includes explicit references to gambling telling viewers as it does that "The less you blow on airfare, the more you can blow in Vegas". Despite this, the ad has not been banned.

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