This week American gaming giant International Game Technology filed a lawsuit against the US Department of Justice and Attorney General Merrick Garland, demanding the government clarify its position on The Wire Act so that it knows whether or not its online services can be offered across state lines.
The suit was filed in federal court last week and is 18 pages in length. The complaint wants a declaratory judgment after the state of New Hampshire challenged a DOJ opinion that The Wire Act applied to all forms of gambling. Since then, there has been concern among gambling companies in different states, as the challenge only provided relief for the state of New Hampshire.
IGT says that multistate lottery games likes the Mega Millions and Powerball could be at risk due to the DOJ's interpretation, and wants clarification. The verbiage in the lawsuit said that this lawsuit is a "serious matter of survival for the company" as it employs more than 1,000 people in the state of Rhode Island, where the lawsuit was filed.
In the suit IGT states: "[The Department of Justice 2018 opinion on] the Wire Act puts IGT to the choice of either fundamentally restructuring [or closing] its business, or risking a federal felony prosecution. Based on this severe and present hardship, IGT requests a declaratory judgment that the 2018 [Office of Legal Counsel] opinion is contrary to law and that the Wire Act applies only to 'bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest.' "
"IGaming necessarily uses a channel of interstate commerce (the internet), even though IGT has invested in state-of-the-art technology to ensure that the bettor is physically present in the state where the lottery or casino game is offered. As an outgrowth of its land-based gaming properties, IGT enables its gaming partners to offer popular casino games over the internet to players' computers or mobile devices."
No comment from the DOJ was available as of press time.