States Pushing Back Against Wire Act Changes

Late last year, the United States Department of Justice put gaming operators in the nation at risk when announcing a reinterpretation of the Wire Act of 1961. The Wire Act was created decades ago to deal with mob style gambling. In 2011, the Obama Administration changed the federal law to allow online betting, restricting interstate online sports betting. Now, the DOJ has decided to name all interstate online gambling in the Wire Act, which could be detrimental to several states online gaming operations.

The change would affect Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey as these states share a multi-state online poker agreement. The agreement allows players from each state to access online poker gaming from the other two. With stricter enforcement of online gambling activities, the online poker services in these states as well as lottery gaming and pari-mutuel horse betting are at risk.

Currently, several states pushing back against the DOJ Wire Act change. New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New Jersey are among those who want to see the opinion reversed back to its original state. New Jersey and Pennsylvania joined forces recently, with the Attorneys General from both states signing a letter in opposition of the change, set to the acting US AG, Matthew Whitaker.

New Hampshire is also considered legal action as they will see their online lottery at risk. The state is planning on taking legal action if needed to ensure the integrity of their online gaming industry. Massachusetts is pursing online lottery gaming as well so they will meeting with lawmakers to ensure they can offer such services.

On top of the states showing opposition, the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries has spoken out against the opinion. The group has pointed out that the change will affect several aspects of the lottery including retail-based options, instant games, online options and more.  

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