Supplier IGT is suing the US Department of Justice over a legal opinion in 2018 which could cause the business to either close down or “risk federal felony prosecution.”
The federal Wire Act, a 1961 law, once banned most forms of interstate gambling. It outlawed all interstate wagers alongside any information passed on pertaining to wagers via telephone or any other means of wired facilities.
IGT is seeking clarity on whether the majority of its business is subject to the act and is obtaining information on whether it can run its online lotteries and gambling for states without the risk of prosecution.
The lawsuit toward the US Department of Justice backs the company’s main strategies, stating that: “Virtually all modern lottery and gaming relies on interstate wires.”
The Wire Act is still in place, with the Department of Justice seemingly handing out contradictory guidance around gambling and the law.
For example, a report in November 2018 from the Department stated that the Wire Act applied to sports betting, whereas in 2019 this was struck down by a federal judge.
It is uncertain whether any other companies will enquire as to whether the basis of its business will adhere to the Wire Act or not, but time will tell if IGT wins or loses this case.
When contacted by Gambling Insider, the supplier said: "IGT supports the District Court of New Hampshire’s ruling (recently upheld by the First Circuit Court of Appeals) that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting and not to other forms of gaming."