Most people expected states with legalized online gambling to fight against the new DOJ Wire Act Opinion. This new stance created some serious legal issues by claiming that all forms of online gambling are illegal. New Jersey is now considering a lawsuit against the DOJ.
It’s a fascinating time for the US online gambling industry. Let’s look at a few scenarios that may take place.
It’s interesting to see New Hampshire pressing legal action over online gambling legislation. This state has not yet legalized full online gambling, although they are currently reviewing a bill to open up the market. New Hampshire currently operates an online lottery, and the recent DOJ Wire Act Opinion could cause it some serious issues.
New Hampshire is claiming that the new opinion is not being “faithful to the text, structure, purpose of legislative history the Wire Act,” and states that it “renders the statute unconstitutionally vague, as well as unconstitutional under the First Amendment.” They argue that the current opinion could destroy their online lottery.
A shut down of New Hampshire’s lottery would be devastating. They would lose upward of $90 million every year.
Governor Gordon MacDonald is publicly supporting the lawsuit. This state’s efforts could be instrumental in the DOJ changing their tone.
News has recently come out that New Jersey is also considering opening a lawsuit against the DOJ. The Garden State is one of just a handful of states that have outright legalized online gambling. It’s been extremely profitable for them, with both land-based and online casino revenue increasing by more than 50% from 2017 to 2018.
New Jersey’s Senate majority leader, Steve Sweeney, sent a formal complaint to the DOJ last week. He has called on the DOJ to change their ruling immediately. If they don’t, New Jersey will file an official lawsuit with support from former State Senator Frank Lesniak.
If New Jersey does press charges, the DOJ will face even more delays attempting to enforce their new opinion. New Jersey was responsible for the Supreme Court ruling PASPA unconstitutional. The state has proven to be very effective in striking down outdated gambling laws and could be the savior for online gambling fans around the country.
The DOJ Wire Act opinion change came to light back in January. It was a huge blow to many states looking to earn revenue on their online gambling activities. After announcing the change, the DOJ gave states and gambling operators a 90-day grace period to begin adhering to the new regulations.
That 90-day grace period is almost certainly going to be extended. With a number of states now calling for a change, the Department of Justice will be forced to head to the courtrooms. At this point, it seems likely that the states will win this one.
A number of companies are also asking for documents that could prove Sheldon Adelson was a driving force behind the new DOJ Wire Act Opinion. The Las Vegas Casino Mogul has been lobbying against online gambling for years and very likely played a part in the recent ruling. If that is true, states such as New Jersey will have an even stronger case.
The DOJ will need to seriously reconsider their current opinion. Too many states are considering (or have already implemented) online gambling legislation.
Do you think the Department of Justice will allow online gambling once again? Does New Jersey take them to court? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!
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