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NEWS 9 April 2019

DoJ reviewing whether Wire Act applies to state lotteries

By Tim Poole

The Department of Justice’s (DoJ) reinterpretation of the Federal Wire Act has taken another twist, after a new memo was sent out by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

In said memo, Rosenstein suggests the DoJ’s reinterpretation of the Wire Act does not address whether the law applies to state lotteries.

January’s new opinion reversed the DoJ's 2011 stance that the 1961 Wire Act only applies to sports betting, extending the legislation to all other forms of gaming.

However, Rosenstein’s latest suggestion confuses matters further, raising the question of whether state lotteries are exempt from the act – which bans interstate wagers or wired interstate transmissions related to wagering.

Reports suggest the move is an attempt to quash the federal lawsuit filed against the DoJ by the New Hampshire Lottery.

In his filing, Rosenstein says: "The OLC opinion did not address whether the Wire Act applies to state lotteries and their vendors. The Department is now reviewing that question.

"If the Department determines the Wire Act does apply to state lotteries or their vendors, then Department of Justice attorneys should extend the forbearance period for 90 days after the Department publicly announces this position."

Continent 8 CEO Michael Tobin recently told Gambling Insider: "Based on the discussions I’ve had, people think this is a crazy interpretation which doesn’t understand technology."

RELATED TAGS: Online | Lottery | Legal & Regulatory
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