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NEWS 19 June 2019

Congress may not fund DoJ enforcement of Wire Act opinion

By Tim Poole

The Department of Justice (DoJ) has suffered another potential blow in its attempt to redefine the scope of the Federal Wire Act.

Congress has filed a bill proposing no funds be made available to the DoJ in its bid to enforce November's Wire Act reinterpretation.

In its most recent opinion, the agency concluded the Wire Act is applicable to all forms of gaming, not just sports betting, despite arriving at a completely different conclusion in 2011.

The November opinion’s success has been short lived, with a federal judge this month overruling it following a New Hampshire lawsuit.

The DoJ then issued a memo delaying the enforcement of its reinterpretation until at least 2020.

Now, in a very brief filing, Congress has suggested the DoJ will not be financially funded during its attempts to enforce the opinion.

The DoJ still has the right to appeal the unfavourable ruling in the New Hampshire case. But, if Congress approves this latest bill, the agency may consider it another nail in the reinterpretation's coffin.

The full bill reads: "None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to enforce the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel memorandum entitled ‘Reconsidering Whether the Wire Act Applies to Non-Sports Gambling’ (issued on November 2, 2018)."

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