Legal Interpretations Will Determine What’s Next for Wire Act
January 15, 2019, Las Vegas Review-Journal, by Richard N. Velotta
(Dennis Gutwald provides insight on the U.S. Justice Department’s recent reversal of its opinion on Internet gambling)
Depending on who you talk to, the reinterpretation of the Wire Act by the U.S. Justice Department will either be no problem for Nevada — or a big problem. Gaming industry legal experts have begun analyzing the effects of the new interpretation of a 23-page opinion issued Monday by Assistant Attorney General Steven Engel of the department’s Office of Legal Counsel.
The 1961 Wire Act originally was intended to block sports betting across state lines through telephone and wire communications as a means of deterring organized crime. In 2011, the Justice Department of President Obama’s administration interpreted the law to ban sports betting, but enabled interstate poker play and lottery sales. The new interpretation bans all forms of interstate betting, including sports wagering, and also includes other gambling-related interstate communications.
The opinion was dated Nov. 2 and it’s unclear why it wasn’t posted until Monday. “We acknowledge that some may have relied on the views expressed in our 2011 opinion about what federal law permits,” the opinion says. “Some states, for example, began selling lottery tickets via the internet after the issuance of our 2011 opinion. But in light of our conclusion about the plain language of the statute, we do not believe that such reliance interests are sufficient to justify continued adherence to the 2011 opinion.” To read entire article click here.
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