Pennsylvania Delays Roll Out of Online Gambling Following Wire Act Alteration

Pennsylvania’s gambling market has seen a lot of bright developments in its favor in recent times, and one particularly anticipated event was supposed to be the rolling out of the online gambling market.

However, it is not meant to be, at least not just yet: the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has decided to put the idea on an indefinite hiatus in the wake of the Interstate Wire Act ruling by the US Department of Justice.

A Dent in Impeccable Record

According to reports, Kevin O’Toole, the regulator’s Executive Director, was asked to provide his view on DoJ decision’s possible impact on the local iGaming market during a budget committee hearing, when he admitted that it will be postponed.

He also admitted that…

…he had prepared a letter that was to be sent to every Pennsylvania licensee that was getting ready to begin online gaming operations, in case Federal Government pushes forward with their iGaming policy.

Seeing as that’s exactly what happened, he said:

“What we wanted to accomplish in that letter was to make sure that the casinos thoroughly read that reinterpretation and looked very closely at their plan for implementing interactive gaming in Pennsylvania.”

Interstate and Intrastate

O’Toole went on to explain that the government’s stance basically says that iGaming businesses will only be allowed on an intrastate basis…

…which practically invalidates the hopes of dozens of operators who requested PA online gaming license believing that they would be allowed to use out-of-state server infrastructure.

“There had been an expectation that those iGaming operators who were partnering with our casinos in Pennsylvania, if they already had the infrastructure in another jurisdiction that they could leverage that to reduce the cost of implementing iGaming,” concluded O’Toole.

A Very Dubious Decision

November’s interpretation of 1961’s Interstate Wire Act caused quite a stir among operators who are outraged, because they won’t be able to collect any information or funds that originate from outside jurisdictions, ie. other states.

This was, in essence, a reversal of 2011’s governmental decision that made it possible for states (Pennsylvania included) to legalize an array of online gaming verticals by enacting an appropriate legislation.

What’s Next?

Despite these looming clouds…

…there may still be hope for the iGaming market in PA to kick off this summer, after safeguarding licensed operators from governmental measures that could harm them. The regulator’s chief counselman, Douglas Sherman, will use the delay to interpret the latest Interstate Wire Act revision.

Source:

“Judge Tells PA Thanks But No Thanks In DOJ Wire Act Case”, playpennsylvania.com, March 11, 2019.

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