Congress Acts to Defund Wire Act Enforcement

This week the U.S. Congress has taken steps toward blocking funding for the enforcement of the 1961 Wire Act, protecting states that have legalized online betting.

The bill is formally known as HR3055, the Commerce, Justice, Science, Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, Interior, Environment, Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act, 2020. The bill gives out funding for various federal agencies, but an amendment contained in the verbiage would see the Department of Justice unable to use their department funds to enforce the Wire Act, which the current Attorney General has said applies to all gambling, not just sportsbetting.

The move comes as several states have legalized online wagering and more coming on-board every few months. With these states making bank, the DoJ changed course, opining that the 1961 bill applied to online gambling, and not just sportsbetting. States have objected heavily to the decision and vowed to fight the matter in court. With this ruling, it appears that Congress is sympathetic to the plight of the states, taking the teeth out of the department.

We'll be following this story and updating readers as we figure out more.

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