WSOP Online Bracelet Events May Be Affected by New Wire Act Opinion

Summary: The new Wire Act opinion by the DOJ may have negatively affected the WSOP, with New Jersey players possibly missing out on online bracelet events.

With the recently released new opinion by the United States Department of Justice involving the Wire Act of 1961, the online gambling industry in the nation is on high alert. The change has resulted in all interstate online gambling being affected as the opinion now bans this type of activity. It seems the change will affect the upcoming World Series of Poker, with players located in the state of New Jersey unable to take part in online bracelet events.

2019 WSOP Potentially Affected

The 2019 World Series of Poker is only a few months away and it is around this time that details begin to emerge. Players begin to look forward to what they can compete in and any new events on the schedule. Over the past few years, the WSOP has featured online bracelet events, allowing players in Nevada to take part. 2018 marked the first year that players in New Jersey could access the online games. The new ruling may now exclude New Jersey players due to the interstate gambling ban.

The WSOP has yet to comment as to if the state will be allowed to take part in the events that are conducted online. In a press release, the company said that eligibility for New Jersey players to compete has yet to be determined.

This means that players who are located in the state will not be able to take part in satellites to earn a seat to the bracelet events or the event itself. Last year was the first time that players in New Jersey could take part in the online poker events after the state joined the Multi-State Internet Gaming Association. Hundreds of players took part in the online events from outside the state of Nevada.

Compliance must be completed by operators as of April 15th. By this date, hopefully a full understanding of the opinion change will be granted. It may be many months before we learn if the DOJ is fully enforcing this new ruling and if New Jersey is unable to take part in the online poker events of the WSOP.

What’s At Stake For Players

When it comes to interstate online gambling in the US, online poker is at risk and the lottery when it comes to the new Wire Act opinion. Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada all work together to share poker player liquidity. This category is perhaps at the highest risk of being dissolved. Of course the states should be able to continue to offer online poker within their borders, but losing the interstate option will lower the already low revenues from the industry.

The lottery is also at risk. Some lottery games are interstate, such as the Powerball. If the Wire Act change extends to the lottery then it would seriously harm state budgets across the US. Stakeholders in this category are extremely upset and taking action.

The New Hampshire Lottery and their technology provider have already filed a suit against the action. The goal is to see the lottery stay in operation as it stands now. The money from the lottery goes towards programs as well as funding that is much needed across the nation.

With the loss of interstate activity in the lottery, millions of dollars will be lost in individual states. It would not be surprising to find that other lottery interests along with online gambling approved states getting in on the lawsuit action in order to fight the current state of affairs.


Logan is based in Los Angeles and is an avid poker player having played in tournaments across the globe. He covers both poker & regulatory affairs.