It seems the Wire Act case is truly never-ending. The process has been ongoing and now we are the point where the New Hampshire Lottery and Neopollard must respond to the arguments by the Department of Justice. The DOJ under the Trump Administration has decided to reinterpret the Wire Act from a 2011 ruling, stating that the Act applies to all iGaming. Now, the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) is throwing their two cents in.
Amicus Brief Filed
The CSIG has filed an amicus brief within the First Circuit of Court Appeals. The brief is of course in support of the government. The group is backed by Sheldon Adelson, a strong opponent of iGaming. In the brief, five legal arguments are being stated. The first is which entities are bound to the Wire Act.
The brief says that the argument of New Hampshire is not compatible with the statue and federal gaming policy scope. The brief tries to state that New Hampshire’s interpretation would allow them to sell lottery tickets by mail to players in other states or offer online games to players in other areas.
The brief also asks the question of what the term person means in the Wire Act. It also questions if a person can be a public or private entity. Additional points include the historical context of the Wire Act as well as employees and vendors.
A main point of contention seems to be why the Wire Act never speaks one way or another about state entities. This is because the original Wire Act was created in the 1960s, which was before legal gambling.
The brief raises other issues that were not mentioned in the initial filing by the government. It is unclear as to if these issues are to be considered during the hearing or if the CSIG is just trying to push for their side.
A recent extension gave a new deadline of February 26th for New Hampshire to respond in the case. There is still plenty of time for the state to review the details of the brief filing and prepare their argument against the Department of Justice’s findings.
When the DOJ announced their Wire Act opinion change last year, it caused shockwaves across the gambling community. The new interpretation has the potential to harm lottery gaming across several states, operations that have been in service for years. Many states share lottery games like the Powerball and Mega Millions.
Also in trouble could be the online gambling industry of New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, Pennsylvania and soon to be other states that recently approved the option. New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware have an online poker shared liquidity compact and because this is online gaming across state lines, they would be affected.
It remains to be seen what will happen next. The case continues to drag on as both sides try to get the courts to rule in their favor.