DoJ Delays Wire Act Enforcement Until June

The United States Department of Justice, according to some US sources, plans on extending the window during which they will not enforce the revised interpretation of the Wire act probably until mid-June.

DoJ officially announced their revised Wire act opinion on January 15 and said that they will not put it into action in the 90-day period…

…because they wanted to give enough time for stakeholders to make sure their operations were compliant to the legislation.

DoJ Pushes the Date Further

Since the 90-day period would have to end on April 15, apparently the Department of Justice has decided to extend the non-enforcement window by an additional 60 days.

The Federal Wire Act was already revised once, back in 2011, where it was stated that it applies to sports betting. But now, the Wire Act applies to all forms of gambling…

…so many private and state-owned operators have to make sure that their businesses are operating legally.

Changes for the Operators

It is still not clear if the lotteries that use servers in various locations would be prosecuted because they are allowing the data related to gambling to cross the state lines. Also, it is still not sure if multi-state games like Powerball are effectively outlawed.

On the other hand, private operators are being faced with an uncertainty that is coming as a result of servers and operational services that are transmitting data across state borders.

This decision might also impact tribal gaming, daily fantasy sports, and interstate initiatives…

…like 888’s multi-state online poker network that is linking Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware.

Suits Filed Against DoJ

After the Department of Justice revealed its revised opinion at the beginning of this year, many US states were against such a decision…

…so they filed lawsuits against the Department.

The Attorney Generals of Pennsylvania and New Jersey filed lawsuits and asked the Department to make sure that they will not legally punish any of the iGaming operators in either state.

Gurbir Grewal, New Jersey’s Attorney General, has filed a request regarding the freedom of information. He wants from DoJ to assert if casino lobbyists played a role in convincing the Department to change its opinion regarding the Wire Act.

“This about-face is wrong and raises significant concerns in our states,” New Jersey and Pennsylvania Attorney Generals wrote in their statement.

“We ask that DOJ withdraw its opinion altogether or assure us that DOJ will not bring any enforcement actions against companies and individuals engaged in online gaming in our states—where it is appropriate under state law,” the Attorney Generals added.

New Hampshire Sues DoJ As Well

The US state of New Hampshire has also filed a lawsuit on behalf of the state lottery commission and with the permission coming from the state Governor, Chris Sununu, and Attorney General, Gordon MacDonald.

Also, the state’s lottery platform provider, NeoPollard Interactive, filed a separate suit the same day…

…while this week a third lawsuit was filed on the behalf of IDEA Growth Trade group.

Source:

“Dept. of Justice Delays Wire Act enforcement until mid-June”, Steven Stradbrooke, calvinayre.com, March 2, 2019.

“DoJ set to extend Wire Act non-enforcement window”, igamingbusiness.com, March 2, 2019.

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