State of New Hampshire May Sue Feds Over Wire Act

The state of New Hampshire may end up suing the federal government over the Department of Justice's opinion change on the Wire Act, which could see lotteries, sportsbetting, and internet gambling made illegal where the services are already offered.

The DoJ changed their opinion last month, stating that the Wire Act (which was passed in 1961) was formulated to cover the internet (which wasn't in existence yet). The decision could see multi-state lotteries and internet betting made illegal, potentially costing the New Hampshire Lottery up to $5 million due to lost online sales.

The decision isn't going over well with the Attorney Generals of states that have legalized various forms of betting. Specifically, the AGs of Pennsylvania and New Jersey have spoken out loudly, and the possibility of legal action exists to counteract that opinion.

Speaking about the matter New Hampshire Lottery Executive Director Charles McIntyre said, "Certainly at the very narrowest interpretation we are looking at $4 million to $6 million this year and $6 million to $8 million next year, as this represents what we are selling now through the internet online channel."

"But the threat goes further. As was pointed out by the attorneys general of New Jersey and Pennsylvania in a letter urging acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to overrule the opinion, it's possible that crimes could be committed if "the interstate transmission of information is merely incidental to betting that is otherwise entirely lawful under state law."

We'll be following the story and updating readers as we learn more.

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WaroftheGods's picture
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14 February 2019 - 11:01am

Could this actually happen, could a state sue if they dont like a law that is being passed? What about a province in Canada, could they sue the Canadian government for something like passing a law that they dont like?


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19 February 2019 - 6:44pm

I've never had a deep thought about it but I guess so Kris, like you could sue your boss... if you like I guess 🙂

Whether New Hampshire state has the right about it or not I'm not sure but one thing is for certain, the will loose a lot of money if multi-state lotteries being banned obviously and that's the big reason they'll probably 'd going for it.

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