Opinion could affect states like Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey where online gambling is legal
One can just see in one’s mind’s eye the filthy hairy hand of interest groups pushing hard for decisions to protect their own business – which ever that might be – that might be affected by the dynamic progress of the fledgling online gaming industry in the U.S.
The legal opinion published by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, on Monday 15, aims to reverse what is called “an Obama-era opinion on the Wire Act, a federal law that bans bettors from transmitting gambling data across state lines.” The 2011 opinion declared that the Wire Act applied only to sports gambling.
Last May, the Supreme Court ruled against a federal law prohibiting gambling on football, basketball, baseball and other sports in most states, and cleared the way for states to legalize betting on sports. Following this ruling, States began to pass legislation to allow sports books to open.
The US Justice Department’s opinion could affect states like Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey, where online gambling is legal, and slow down decisions of other states that have proposed legislation to do the same.
Richard Williams, Licensing Partner at law firm Joelson, comments on news that US Department of Justice plans to restrict all forms of online gambling that it “will be a serious blow to operators that have rushed to take advantage of new state-specific gambling legislation in the US.”
“The fear is that uncertainty around how this decision will be applied may lead financial instructions to adopt a knee-jerk reaction and block remote gambling transactions altogether, which could wipe out the fledgling industry.
“It remains to be seen whether the Department of Justice’s decision will lead to any retrospective federal enforcement for states that have already enacted legislation, or whether financial institutions will indeed adopt a blanket approach and block transactions. Whatever the outcome, investors in the fledgling online gambling market will no doubt be uneasy about anything that could scale back gambling operators’ prospects in the potentially huge US remote gambling market.”
Following the Justice Department’s opinion, the “Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling”, a group backed by billionaire casino magnate and a major Trump and GOP donor, Sheldon Adelson, praised the decision in a statement published to the group’s website.
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