AGA and Department of Justice Clash Over Wire Act

AGA and Department of Justice Clash Over Wire Act

US lawmakers, state institutions and nation’s chief regulator are still occasionally grappling over the revisions of certain legal frameworks of the past. Despite last year’s successful PASPA lift…

…the American Gaming Association (AGA) still hasn’t fully come to terms with it.

The regulator is now at cross purposes again with the US Department of Justice who has changed its stance on 2011’s Wire Act. In their revised opinion that was published last week, the prohibition of this law ought to extend to all gambling facets in the US.

AGA is concerned about this and insistent that states and tribes can still offer regulated online gambling.

No Reason For Panic

The Department of Justice’s Criminal Division has requested the reconsideration of the original version of the Act (which helped launch online gambling in numerous states), to which Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel Stephen Engel responded.

The number one concern regarding the reformulation of this Act is the potential alteration of markets where online gambling is already live. AGA’s senior vice-president of public affairs, Sara Sloan, says, however…

…that there’s no basis yet for being worried about this:

“The 2018 OLC opinion does not impact the ability for states and tribes to legalise and regulate gaming on a state-by-state and tribal basis, or for companies to provide the exciting products and entertainment experiences our customers want.”

Sloan remarked that DoJ’s departure from “well-established practice in reversing previous opinions with a compelling reason to do so” is unfortunate.

Times of Uncertainty

Her arguments go beyond that:

As far us US industries go, gambling is one of the most regulated ones, Sloan exclaims, with more than 4,000 regulators and billions of dollars allocated to sector compliance.

“We will work with all stakeholders to preserve the ability of states and tribes to regulate gaming, and we encourage [the] DOJ to investigate and shut down illegal, unregulated gambling operators who prey on consumers,” she concluded.

Industry analysts began weighing in on this as well…

…with Regulus Partners warning that this DoJ decision may lead to “years of uncertainty” for online poker, tribal groups, fantasy sports and iLottery.

The original Wire Act of 1961 was created on the initiative of Robert Kennedy – the Attorney General at the time. He wanted to outlaw the interstate gambling as a way of battling the thriving organized crime of the era. The act was signed into law on September 13, 1961 by his brother, President, John F. Kennedy.


“AGA allays concerns over US DoJ Wire Act opinion”,, January 21, 2019.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *