Online Poker’s Future Uncertain Due to Wire Act Opinion

us-department-of-justiceThe future of online poker is in limbo after a recent opinion by the US Department of Justice (DoJ).

The DoJ has released an opinion that the federal Wire Act of 1961 applies to all forms of online gambling, not just sports betting. This contrasts the department’s previous opinion in 2011, when they said that the Wire Act only applies to sports gambling.

What Does the DoJ’s Opinion Mean for Online Poker

It’s unclear what impact, if any, the Department of Justice’s revised opinion will have on US online poker. Multiple states have already legalized the activity, and New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware have active markets.

The DoJ noted that everybody has 90 days to comply with their revised opinion. But some states are already threatening action over the matter.

The New Hampshire Lottery has filed a lawsuit. New Jersey may not be far behind after blasting the federal government for overstepping their reach.

These same states have noted that they moved forth with internet gambling after the DoJ’s 2011 opinion. They’ve dumped a lot of money into setting up regulatory framework for their markets.

US Attorney General’s Office Issues Warning

The US Attorney General’s office has extended the time that states have to comply with the new Wire Act opinion. However, Deputy US Attorney General Rod Rosenstein notes that it will still be enforced nonetheless.

“Providing this extension of time is an internal exercise of prosecutorial discretion and does not create a safe harbor for violations of the Wire Act,” said Rosenstein.

The Wire Act is an antiquated law that was created to stop gambling across state lines. Las Vegas Sands owner Sheldon Adelson has poured millions into a campaign to halt online gambling, using the Wire Act as his chief weapon.

Adelson has recently been battling cancer, though, and may have difficulty keeping up his war against internet gambling. As for now, though, the US DoJ and Attorney General’s office seem serious about the matter.