DOJ won’t back down on Wire Act opinion
The department seeks to dismiss a New Hampshire lawsuit over the opinion
If you were expecting the Department of Justice (DOJ) to back down and change its position (again) on the Federal Wire Act, you can quit holding your breath. The odds of that happening have been seriously lowered, as the department has filed to have a lawsuit against it for its position tossed out of court.
New Hampshire, in conjunction with its state lotteries, filed the lawsuit after the DOJ reversed its eight-year-old opinion on the Wire Act this past January. The DOJ “with no outside influence” decided its long-held opinion that the Wire Act only applied to sports gambling and now believes that the act was meant to cover all forms of online gaming – including lotteries.
A number of states showed support for New Hampshire, filing amicus briefs with the courts. Ultimately, there were more than 15 states involved and there is still a chance that more will be added going forward.
The DOJ has stepped up with its own amicus briefs, as well. It won’t come as a surprise to anyone that the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) submitted an amicus brief to try and give the DOJ more weight. CSIG is backed by Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson, a long-time opponent to online gambling and the man many say was the outside influence that caused the DOJ to reverse its opinion.
If the DOJ stance isn’t changed, states risk losing possibly billions in revenue. Education programs across the country could suffer and multi-state lotteries such as Power Ball and Mega Millions would be forced to stop – all allegedly because of one man’s greed.