The DOJ has reversed a 2011 opinion of the Wire Act and has put legal online gaming in question.
US.- The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has set a new legal opinion that says the Wire Act should apply to all forms of online gambling instead of just sports betting. This new opinion could affect other forms of online gaming that have interstate deals. The DOJ said that it would delay the implementation of new restrictions for 90 days to allow businesses to adjust their operations.
The new opinion is set to replace the 2011 one, which was released under Obama’s administration. The previous opinion established that the Wire Act only applied to sports betting. It was initially created in 1961 in order to fight crime by banning racing and sports betting across communications in the country. Then in the 90’s it was used to ban online gambling.
This new decision, which is dated November 2, 2018, but only became public on Monday, could be applied to any form of gambling that crosses state lines. This would especially affect Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey, three states that legalised online gaming in 2011 and have an interstate compact for online poker.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board said after the news emerged that it was analysing the department’s opinion in order to understand its ramifications. New Jersey and Delaware haven’t responded any questions about this issue.
The Act was only applied to sports betting as it was believed that the market would be better developed state by state and not across state lines, such as casino games. “While the Wire Act is not a model of artful drafting, we conclude that the words of the statute are sufficiently clear and that all but one of its prohibitions sweep beyond sports gambling,” Justice Department attorneys wrote in the opinion. “We further conclude that that the 2006 enactment of (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) did not alter the scope of the Wire Act.”
Daniel Wallach, co-founding director of the sports wagering program at the University of New Hampshire School of Law, said that the opinion will have zero impact on the growth of mobile sports betting.