The US District Court District of Rhode Island has ruled in favor of IGT in its lawsuit against the US DOJ, confirming that the Wire Act only makes interstate online sports betting illegal. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Online gambling industry can breathe out
The online gambling industry seems to be back on the right track with the Interstate Wire Act of 1961 (Wire Act). On Thursday, the US District Court for the District of Rhode Island ruled in favor of International Game Technology (IGT) in the gaming company’s lawsuit against US Attorney General Merrick Garland and the US Department of Justice.
a sword of Damocles hung over IGT, his business potentially at risk
IGT filed a lawsuit against the DOJ in November 2021, alleging that an advisory on the Wire Act issued by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) in 2018 forced the company to commit resources (read: money). for possible lawsuits, should the government take legal action. In fact, a sword of Damocles hung over IGT, his business potentially at risk due to the interpretation of the Wire Act of 2018.
In February 2022, the DOJ filed a motion to dismiss, claiming that IGT “has not provided sufficient evidence to substantiate its claim that there is a threat of prosecution” and that the Wire Act does not apply to land-based lottery and casino services. that make up a large part of IGT’s activities.
IGT wanted a final ruling and got it this week.
Politics, Money Affected 2018 Opinion
The Wire Act was originally written to prevent interstate or foreign sports betting via wire communications as a way to curb organized crime. The Wire Act controversy started around the time of the online poker boom, in the 1970s. Some legislators – generally those opposed to online gambling – argued that the Wire Act applied to all online gambling, not just sports betting (at this point, the Internet was considered “wire communication,” although it clearly didn’t exist in 1961) .
opened the door for the legalization of online poker and casino gambling by state
In 2011, the OLC, then still under the Obama administration, issued an advisory in response to two state lotteries that wanted to sell lottery tickets online. The advisory said the Wire Act only applies to sports betting, opening the door to state legalization of online poker and casino gambling, although not many states have done so.
Then, in 2018, the OLC, now under the Trump administration, released a surprising revised opinion, flipping the 2011 opinion, this time stating that the Wire Act applied to all online gambling. The Wall Street Journal later reported that the DOJ was urged to rethink the Wire Act by Sheldon Adelson, CEO of Las Vegas Sands, the most powerful opponent of online gambling in the country and a billionaire Republican political donor.
New Hampshire Lottery led the charge
While nothing really came out of 2018’s opinion, the uncertainty it presented was tough on the gaming industry. In February 2019, the New Hampshire Lottery Commission (NHLC) filed a lawsuit against the DOJ and then-Attorney General Bill Barr, urging the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire to reject the OLC’s advice because this could harm the commission to the tune of millions of dollars a year.
In June of that year, U.S. District Court Paul Barbadoro ruled that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting, as stated in the 2011 OLC opinion. The DOJ appealed, but Judge Barbadoro’s decision was upheld.
That leads us to IGT’s lawsuit, which was filed last November. Neither the Biden administration nor the current DOJ ever seemed interested in going after gambling companies, but IGT needed to make sure its business was clear. Now it knows it does and the ruling seems to put an end to any Wire Act uncertainty once and for all.
This post IGT Wins Lawsuit Against DOJ, 2018 Wire Act Opinion Nixed
was original published at “https://www.vegasslotsonline.com/news/2022/09/16/igt-wins-lawsuit-against-doj-2018-wire-act-opinion-nixed/”