More states get behind lawsuit against DOJ over the Wire Act

There are now 14 states ready to sue the DOJ over its opinion

When the Department of Justice (DOJ) decided to reverse course on its opinion of the Federal Wire Act, it probably didn’t anticipate the fall out that it has received. Pennsylvania and New Jersey were the first states to speak out against the move, accusing the DOJ of having most likely been improperly influenced by someone in the gambling industry. Soon after, New Hampshire announced that it had filed suit against the decision, with NJ and PA signing on. Now, Michigan has filed an amicus brief to the lawsuit, which is also being supported by 11 other states and D.C.

New Hampshire filed its suit through the New Hampshire lottery. It was entered against Attorney General William Barr, the DOJ and “the U.S.A.” The amicus brief filed by Michigan also includes Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Delaware, Colorado, Rhode Island, Virginia, Idaho, Vermont, Alaska, Mississippi and D.C., bringing to a total 14 states that are ready to take on the DOJ, and possibly some anti-online gambling pundits, in order to fight any possible prosecutions under what the DOJ deems as violations of the Wire Act.

New Jersey states that the courts must “grant relief that reaches beyond the parties and the District of New Hampshire, and that protects the interests of third-parties like New Jersey nationwide. Under the Declaratory Judgment Act, the Court should declare that the Wire Act does not cover non-sports-related gambling in any jurisdiction, and under the Administrative Procedure Act, the Court should vacate the DOJ’s 2018 reinterpretation of the Wire Act as null and void.”

The DOJ initially said it would wait 90 days before it began enforcing its new position, then added an additional 60 days to that. With the lawsuits that are pending, it is possible that it will have to delay any enforcement even more and, hopefully, will realize its mistake and take corrective action before the ordeal becomes an even bigger fiasco.

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