DOJ appealing Wire Act decision

It appears the trouble brought on by the previously squashed new Wire Act decision aren’t over yet.

Late last week, the Department of Justice began the first steps to appeal the district court decision on the Wire Act that was handed down in June.

For anyone that needs a quick refresher:

In 2011 the DOJ stated that the Wire Act, which made it illegal to transmit wagering information across state lines, applied only to sports betting. That changed in 2018 when the DOJ reversed that opinion stating that the Wire Act instead applied to all forms of sports betting.

Why is DOJ appealing Wire Act decision? 

This was a major blow to states that had entered compacts to share poker players, effectively transferring numerous wagers across state lines. It was also a huge concern for states that were engaged in inter-state lotteries.

The DOJ has since said they will not enforce the Wire Act on other forms of gambling, other than sports betting, until 2020.

The new opinion led to a joint lawsuit against the DOJ led by the state of New Hampshire. The decision on that lawsuit by the New Hampshire District Court in June threw out the new opinion. It stated that the DOJ’s new opinion was false under the law.

The New Hampshire District court also stated they expected the DOJ to appeal and for it to eventually end up in the Supreme Court.

It looks like the district court was right. Late last week the DOJ filed its intent to appeal the district court decision to the First Circuit Court of Appeals. The next step for the DOJ will be to petition to have their case heard by the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

The court will not be in session until October, so a decision on where and when a future hearing will take place won’t be known until then at the earliest.