Judge doesn’t buy DOJ defense in Wire Act case

The “it doesn’t apply to lotteries” defense won’t stop the New Hampshire lawsuit

The Department of Justice (DOJ) weakly attempted to try to stop a lawsuit regarding its position on the Federal Wire Act, only to fall flat on its face. The lawsuit brought against the department by New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Lottery and other states will proceed after the judge presiding over the case threw out the DOJ’s request for dismissal.

The DOJ had tried to say that its new opinion on the Wire Act didn’t apply to lotteries and, therefore, the lawsuit was moot. However, it previously asserted, when updating its position, that the decades-old legislation applied to all forms of online gaming without exception. When it tried to backpedal earlier this week, it asserted that lotteries were excluded from the provisions of the Wire Act, but that they could be included at a later date.

The judge, Paul Barbadoro, called out the DOJ, stating, “That letter does not convince me that I should dismiss this case for lack of standing, nor does it convince me that this case is moot.”

He wasn’t happy with the Wire Act itself after putting it under the microscope and this might ultimately play a part in how he rules in the case. Barbadoro stated, “If you don’t think this is an unambiguous statute, you’re both wrong. This statute is a mess of a statute.”

In an expression of legal foresight, Barbadoro predicts that the case is a long way from being decided. He asserts, “I have a strong feeling that however I resolve the case, or however the First Circuit resolves the case, it is likely going to be resolved by the US Supreme Court either way.”

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