All eyes are on the online gambling industry of the United States after the Department of Justice decided to reconsider the opinion from 2011 involving the Wire Act. The federal law was changed to include only sports betting when transmitting gambling data across state lines. Now, the DOJ has changed their opinion and have applied the definition to all online gambling games.
In 2011, the change by the DOJ involving the Wire Act of 1961 allowed states to legally offer online casino and poker gaming. Nevada jumped first, offering only online poker while New Jersey and Delaware soon followed with casino and poker gaming online. These three states have been in operation since 2013 and work together to offer online poker gaming across state lines.
Pennsylvania passed online gambling legislation in 2017 and spent last year setting up the new industry. The state is open to interstate gaming and should launch their online operations sometime this year. With the new change to the Wire Act, all interstate gaming will be an issue. It is now unclear just how the online gambling industry in the United States will be affected.
As far as interstate gaming is concerned, there are states that offer online lottery ticket sales in multiple states as well as New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada sharing online poker liquidity. These industries will be threatened as this activity would be considered illegal based on the new ruling of the Wire Act.
The Interstate Wire Act was created in 1961 to challenge crime involving gambling across state lines. In 2011, the change was made due to internet activity. This recent change will only prove to set the industry backwards, as online liquidity sharing will have to stop, if the DOJ chooses to enforce their new change fully.
There will most likely be legal challenges filed due to the change as those who offer interstate online gambling will want to continue to do so.