Opinion From DoJ Will Likely Have Dramatic Impact on Online Gambling Landscape in United States

Published on December 24th, 2011 4:14 am EST

Ionic Column - Department of JusticeAn opinion from Assistant Attorney General Virginia A. Seitz that will likely have a dramatic impact on the online gambling landscape in the United States was made available to the public earlier today.

The opinion, which was issued in September and made available to the public by Forbes, came in response to a request for clarification by the Illinois governor's office and New York's lottery division. The two states wanted the DoJ's opinion as to whether or not the 1961 Wire Act applied to the sale of online lottery tickets.

According to Seitz, the Wire Act only applies to a "sporting event or contest". The exclusion of "poker" from this opinion has set the online poker world abuzz - the story has already received coverage in major publications such as the Wall Street Journal and Forbes.

The opinion from the Department of Justice has some potentially far-reaching implications in the United States.

This opinion from the Department of Justice may result in a number of new states quickly moving to legalize online poker. The UIGEA only applies to "unlawful" transactions, so the UIGEA wouldn't apply to states that offer legal intrastate online poker.

This new opinion from the DoJ also raises the possibility of a federal gambling bill being passed even sooner than expected.


A few things to note:

-Anurag Dikshit, co-founder of PartyGaming, shelled out $300 million and was sentenced to one year of probation for violating the Wire Act. PartyGaming never violated UIGEA, as they pulled out of the US after the UIGEA was passed into law. So, according to this new opinion from the DoJ, PartyGaming never violated the Wire Act.

-the "Black Friday" indictments did not include any mention of the Wire Act - instead, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara claimed that FTP, Pokerstars and UB/AP had violated the UIGEA and IGB (Illegal Gambling Business Act).


Source: Forbes.com - Department of Justice Flip-Flops on Internet Gambling


Filed Under: Poker Legal Issues

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