A federal judge ruled in favour of New Hampshire in the challenge of the DOJ’s opinion on the Wire Act and said it only applies to sports betting.
US.- After the Department of Justice (DOJ) set a new legal opinion saying the Wire Act should apply to all forms of online gambling instead of just sports betting, New Hampshire decided to file a suit against it and challenge the decision. Now, a new federal judge ruled in favour of New Hampshire on that case and reversed the previous re-interpretation.
Judge Paul Barbadoro rejected the DOJ’s 2018 opinion on the Wire Act, which replaced the 2011 one and affected other forms of online gaming that have interstate deals. The reinterpretation would have affected states like Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey, three states that legalised online gaming in 2011 and have an interstate compact for online poker.
The plaintiffs on the lawsuit presented in February were the New Hampshire Lottery Commission and NeoPollard Interactive, its lottery vendor. They claimed that the ruling would also affect the education fund.
Judge Barbadoro said in the 60-page ruling: “In summary, I deny the Government’s motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction because the plaintiffs have established standing, and the Government has not met its burden to show that the case is moot. I grant the plaintiffs’ motions for summary judgement and deny the Government’s cross-motion for summary judgement.
“I hereby declare that § 1084(a) of the Wire Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1084(a), applies only to transmissions related to bets or wagers on a sporting event or contest. The 2018 OLC opinion is set aside,” he concluded.
Chris Sununu, Governor of New Hampshire, said: “Today’s ruling is a historic victory for the State of New Hampshire and we are proud to have led this effort. New Hampshire stood up, took action, and won – all to protect public education in our state.”
The Department of Justice has now time to appeal the decision, and if it comes to it, the Supreme Court would likely decide on the subject.