DOJ plans on appealing federal judge’s ruling on the Wire Act
Online gaming remains at the center of the DOJ’s fight
The fact that a federal judge has ruled that the Department of Justice (DOJ) was wrong for trying to assert a new opinion on the US Federal Wire Act isn’t stopping the department from continuing its fight. It has filed a notice that it will appeal the ruling in hopes that it can find some support up the chain, allowing it to continue attacking online gaming in what has often been alleged to be a move backed by brick-and-mortar casinos – namely, Sheldon Adelson.
New Hampshire District Court Judge Paul Barbadoro decided in June that the DOJ was off-base when it suddenly decided the Wire Act applied to all forms of online gaming, not just sports gambling, as it had asserted for decades. The department has now decided that the decision doesn’t fit its agenda and will appeal the ruling with the First Circuit Court of Appeals. That appeal won’t be able to take place until October, though, since that is the when the court returns to its chamber.
Barbadoro has already stated that the DOJ’s arguments would never withstand scrutiny, so it will be interesting to see what cards the department, or Adelson, has up its sleeve. The department has routinely come under fire for its absurd attempt at rewriting policy, including an assertion that it “may or may not” go after interstate lotteries that have been operating in plain sight for decades. The DOJ apparently believes that the Wire Act applies to every type of online gambling, except to those that it decides to single out.
The DOJ can afford to file the appeal. After all, in addition to the belief that its opinion was already paid for by anti-online gaming supporters, the department doesn’t have to spend a dime on its efforts – everything is paid for by taxpayers.