U.S. DoJ Reverses Course On Wire Act Interpretation

This story was published more than 1 year ago.

This week the U.S. Department of Justice issued a new opinion on the Wire Act of 1961, stating that the law applies to both sportsbetting AND online betting, reversing a decision that came in 2011 and opened the way for states to offer online betting.

The opinion was released this week but was written on November 2nd, 2018 by Assistant Attorney General Steven Engel. The opinion is based on a piece of verbiage from the 1961 law, which reads in part that "the transmission of a wire communication which entitles the recipient to receive money or credit as a result of bets or wagers, or for information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers" is illegal under federal law. The opinion decides that the language applies to both sportsbetting as well as online betting, despite the internet not existing when the law was passed.

The decision overturns a 2011 opinion by former AG Eric Holder, who said that the text was ambiguous and said that it was logical to assume that the law was meant to only apply to sports wagers. That opinion opened the door for the state of New Jersey to pass online betting laws, which has proven to be very lucrative and is spreading to other states.

It's likely that states will challenge the opinion in court should the feds try to clamp down on their online and sportsbetting markets. In New Jersey, sportsbetting handle has already surpassed $1 billion, and the activity is providing a lot of tax revenues for cash-strapped jurisdictions.

We're keeping an eye on this story and will keep readers abreast on the developments.

About the author

Dustin Jermalowicz // News Editor
Dustin Jermalowicz
Dustin has a long-standing passion for gambling. He has been writing professionally on the subject and breaking industry news for Casino Listings since 2011. His favorite casino games include Blackjack, Poker, and Hi/Lo. A proud native of Detroit, Dustin currently lives in Michigan.
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krcoolsongss
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15 January 2019 - 4:02pm
#1

I have been reading some news about law changes in online betting in US.
I think that this is probably a very big news.

usbarbadosslim93
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15 January 2019 - 4:06pm
#2

Yeah, this is huge. It's also very unfortunate and will discourage growth while the issue is contested in courts. Doesn't make any sense to me. Legalized betting hasn't hurt anything and is raising a lot of tax revenue while creating jobs, why wouldn't you want to keep that going?

sharpe

bgsharpe
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5 February 2019 - 3:29pm
#3

Yeah agree Slim, didn't even mentioning the fact that every of the states would be so beneficial in forms of taxes which could be invested in improvement of some other areas of the comunity's life.

Hopefully they'll understand there's more positives than negatives of betting being legal.

usbarbadosslim93
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5 February 2019 - 5:54pm
#4

I think it all comes down to the almighty dollar, as a huge Republican donor and casino owner has been pushing to make online gambling illegal. Do as he says, or he pulls his donations.

sharpe

bgsharpe
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6 February 2019 - 8:04pm
#5
barbadosslim93 wrote:

I think it all comes down to the almighty dollar, as a huge Republican donor and casino owner has been pushing to make online gambling illegal. Do as he says, or he pulls his donations.

O, I get that now Slim, but who's that guy anyway?