Months ago, the current United States Department of Justice (DOJ) decided to change the Wire Act. The federal legislation was changed in 2011 under the Obama Administration and led the way to online gambling in the US. The new change to the law says that all interstate online gambling is illegal, not just sports betting as the Wire Act did formerly reference. States have until June to comply and several are already making legal changes in order to avoid any issue with the federal government.
Ohio and Nevada Make Changes
Ohio and Nevada have decided to make changes regarding the legal online gaming operations within their borders to avoid any problems with the DOJ once the Wire Act changes take effect. The legislation in both states is being changed with rewording so that any move by the DOJ to stop such activities can hopefully be avoided.
Ohio will be removing the words online and mobile as it changes legislation regarding online sports betting. According to Representative Dave Greenspan, the change of language will see the word Devices and Personal Devices used instead along with software as they are broad terms. The Rep pointed out that in five to ten years time, the technology will be unknown and the delivery system could be something totally different. A broad approach will allow options to fall under the definition in the law for the future.
For Nevada, legislation is being considered that would provide regulation for sports gambling via mobile compared to a slot machine. In this format, the option would not be considered online gambling. According to Sandra Douglass Morgan, the chair of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, the bill will not consider mobile gaming as a separate category.
The definition of mobile gaming will be added to the definition of a gaming device. This helps to regulate mobile gaming the same as another device for gaming in Nevada.
Soon after the DOJ announced the Wire Act change, states began to act. The Lottery of New Hampshire filed a lawsuit against the DOJ and the department is working hard to see the case thrown out of court. The Lottery is seeking to see the ruling not apply to state lotteries or their vendors. Several other staets joined in filing briefs on the matter.
An opinion on the issue is expected to be made by the end of next month by United States District Court Judge Paul J. Barbadoro. The decision needs to come quickly as the new fiscal years begin on July 1st and many across the nation include online gambling as a form of revenue.
States are watching and waiting patiently to see what the ruling will be. For proponents of iGaming, the goal is to see the Wire Act revert back and operations go on as they are now. Only time will tell what will happen and we hope it will be in favor of the online gambling industry in the US!