DOJ claims Wire Act reinterpretation does not apply to lotteries

New memo could be designed to undercut legal challenge against the revision and leave online gambling to “fend for itself”

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has claimed its revised opinion on the Wire Act does not impact lotteries, in a move that could be designed to undercut a legal challenge against the opinion.

In a memo sent Monday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the DOJ did not conclude that lotteries were affected by the new opinion that the Wire Act applied to all forms of interstate gambling.

The decision is seen by US industry stakeholders as an attempt to defuse the federal case brought against the DOJ, which is led by the New Hampshire Lottery.

Eilers & Krejcik analyst Chris Grove said on Twitter: “Its starting to seem like the fix is in here. Carving out lotteries would be 100% arbitrary but would knock one of the most powerful advocates out of the box, leaving commercial online gambling to fend for itself.”

The case was due to be heard on April 11, with a host of other states lining up to back New Hampshire, as well as online gambling trade group IDEA.

Gaming lawyer Daniel Wallach said a federal judge would “probably not be too impressed by a federal agency moving the goalposts like the DOJ did today.”

Other pointed out that the original 2011 DOJ decision, which the new opinion reversed was also specifically responding to lotteries

It is unclear how the lawsuit will proceed if New Hampshire and other lottery organisations remove their support.

Doj | Regulation | Wire Act