DOJ Wire Act Opinion May Never Be Enforced
Back in January, the US Department of Justice shocked the gambling industry after completely changing their stance on the Wire Act. They now claim that all forms of online gambling are illegal. The new DOJ Wire Act opinion was a tough blow to both online gambling operators and states with legalized internet betting.
Before long, a number of states began pushing back against these new laws. With legal battles on the horizon, it appears as if any efforts to enforce these new laws will be hindered significantly.
Let’s look at what’s happening in the US online gambling industry.
The DOJ Changed Their Opinion, but Why?
When the Wire Act opinion was changed, gambling fans immediately feared it meant an end to any hops of legalized online gambling. After the news broke, we examined some of the previous US laws on internet gambling and talked about what might be next for the industry here.
No one seemed to understand why these changes initially came. Some felt the decision was political. Others argued it was a private lobbying party that pushed for a change. The latter, it would appear, might actually be true.
According to multiple reports, Sheldon Adelson may have played a pivotal role in the new DOJ Wire Act opinion. Adelson has been against the igaming industry for years and has lobbied against legalized gambling ever since the DOJ initially changed their opinion back in 2011. The Las Vegas mogul has claimed his stance on internet gambling is based on ethics, yet most agree he wants to protect his casino business from competition.
There’s still no definitive answer on why the DOJ changed their tune. As we just mentioned, this government body declared the Wire Act applied only to sports betting in 2011.
States and online gambling operators were given a 90-day period to comply with the new regulations. After that, the DOJ said, they would begin enforcing their new rules. That’s not the case anymore.
Legal Troubles over the DOJ Wire Act Opinion
Declaring all forms of online gambling illegal was obviously concerning for states with legislation to allow this popular form of betting. New Jersey’s gambling revenue increased by 22% in 2018 thanks largely to their online sector. Even New York has begun pushing to allow this industry.
Unsurprisingly, these states immediately began warning the DOJ to retract their opinion. Failing to do so would result in legal trouble. New Hampshire has already done so. They claim that a shut-down of their online lottery will cost the state upwards of $90 million every year.
New Jersey and Pennsylvania are demanding their industry’s remain untouched, as well. It seems as if the legal disputes presented by these states are forcing the DOJ to extend their non-enforcement period. Reports claim this extension will last for an additional 60 days.
What’s Likely to Happen Next?
From afar, it looks as if the DOJ failed to recognize what their new opinion truly meant. A number of states are profiting massively from online gambling, and are ready to fight to keep this revenue flowing in. For that reason, the DOJ may need additional time to make decisions.
One of the main talking points is whether or not interstate lotteries will be banned. Multi-state games including the Powerball will be technically illegal. Private online lottery companies such as 888 are also awaiting news on their legality.
If these legal battles continue, the DOJ may never have the ability to enforce their new laws. The additional 60-day extension certainly proves that they’re having issues.
In many ways, the US gambling industry is becoming more liberal. More states are beginning to allow sports betting. Hope is high that the DOJ comes to their senses and reverses their opinion once again.
Do you think the new DOJ Wire Act opinion will change? Will states have enough power to push against the DOJ? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!
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