States line up to challenge Wire Act opinion

New Jersey and Michigan join twelve other states in launching legal proceedings against DOJ interpretation

Representatives from fourteen US states and state lotteries have added their support to the New Hampshire Lottery Association’s legal challenge against the new Department of Justice interpretation of the Wire Act.

Filing an ‘Amicus Curiae’ memorandum, representatives from New Jersey said enforcement of this revised interpretation “may end New Jersey’s igaming industry”, citing the interstate nature of its operations and the multi-state shared poker liquidity agreement with Delaware and Nevada.

Pouring scorn on the DOJ interpretation, the memorandum adds “It is simply the nature of the internet that even purely intrastate transactions may travel through channels that cross state lines.”

Last week, the Michigan Lottery filed an ‘Amicus Curiae’ memorandum of its own in support of the case, detailing 12 further jurisdictions and state lottery operators all requesting to participate in the case and present oral arguments.

The influx of new states includes representatives from Mississippi, Kentucky, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Vermont, North Carolina, Alaska, and Washington DC.

In the memorandum, the states claim the legal conclusions which were cited in the reinterpretation were “erroneous” and that this demonstrated the need for “nationwide equitable relief” to deal with the consequences of the revised interpretation.

The states also claim that “failing to harmonise” the Wire Act with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act “creates a “confusing and inconsistent body of federal antigambling laws”.

The US state of Pennsylvania has also attempted to add its voice to the legal case, claiming the revised interpretation “is arbitrary, contrary to the plain meaning of the Wire Act, and inconsistent with directly applicable precedent”.

However, this attempt to join the legal action was denied by the District Court of New Hampshire, which has overall legal responsibility for the conduct of the case. Responding to this ruling, representatives of the Pennsylvania lottery said they would file their own Amicus brief.

The case is due to be heard on April 11.

New Jersey | Online Gaming | Pennsylvania | Regulation | Wire Act