DoJ to appeal New Hampshire Wire Act ruling

By Tim Poole

The Department of Justice (DoJ) will appeal a ruling in New Hampshire earlier this year against its Federal Wire Act reinterpretation.

In November, the DoJ reversed its September 2011 opinion which said the Wire Act only applies to sports betting. Its new opinion extended the legislation to apply to all forms of online gaming.

The Wire Act, written in 1961, prohibits all interstate wagers placed, or information distributed regarding gambling, by telephone or wired communication facility.

However, in June, New Hampshire won a lawsuit against the DoJ, with a federal judge issuing a 60-page opinion concluding the Wire Act will only apply to sports betting.

The DoJ has now confirmed it will appeal that decision, potentially adding two years to the legal process.

Idea Growth, a trade group representing the US mobile gaming industry, believes the appeal is ultimately destined to fail.

Founder Jeff Ifrah therefore wants the DoJ to refocus its efforts on stopping offshore operators instead: "We hope, rather than engaging in a protracted, expensive and ultimately unsuccessful legal fight, the Department will take this opportunity to negotiate a settlement which will focus the Wire Act and DoJ's enforcement resources on the right targets."

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