US Department of Justice changes stance on Federal Wire Act

By Tim Poole

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has issued a replacement for its 2011 opinion on the Federal Wire Act.

In September 2011, the DoJ interpreted the Wire Act as legislation which only applies to sports betting.

The Wire Act was formed in 1961 and outlawed all interstate wagers placed – or information passed on pertaining to wagers – via telephone or wired communication facility.

But, in its new opinion, the DoJ has revised that outlook, judging the law as applicable to all forms of gambling – including online casino, poker and lottery.

However, it is unclear whether this new opinion will eventually have any direct bearing on existing legislation.

Current online gambling and sports betting laws may well remain unaffected, although this ruling does serve to create some uncertainty.

The opinion was issued on 2 November, but was not made public until this week.


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