Federal Judge Paul Barbadoro Rules Against DOJ’s Wire Act Decision

Judge Paul Barbadoro ruled on Monday that the Wire Act of 1961 only applies to interstate sports betting rather than all gambling. The United States Justice Department under the Trump Administration decided to change the opinion to all gambling instead of just sports betting as was the opinion of the DOJ in 2011 under the Obama Administration. The ruling is in favor of New Hampshire as the state’s lottery filed a suit against the DOJ as they felt their online gambling operations were at risk.

Once the new opinion was made public, states like New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware were at risk involving interstate online poker operations. Even more states, including New Hampshire, were afraid their online lottery gaming services would be at risk, which would mean millions in profit losses.

Games like the Powerball could be at risk which would cause New Hampshire and other states to miss out on much-needed revenues. The new opinion was set to be enforced by mid-June and states were afraid of what the repercussions might be.

Taking action, the state of New Hampshire filed a lawsuit against the DOJ and soon other states joined in. The new opinion applies to any form of gambling that crosses state lines. It was feared that if the Wire Act new opinion was interpreted in a strict fashion, then lottery tickets sold online as well as activities related to the lottery over the internet would be at risk.

Judge Barbadoro has now ruled that New Hampshire has the footing to sue and that the Wire Act is limited to sports betting only. The Justice Department had requested that the suit by the state be dismissed. This move was rejected by the Judge.

Opponents of online gambling including the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling have signed on in support of the new DOJ opinion regarding the Wire Act. They may plan on appealing the new judgment in the future.

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