Wire act opinion overturned

States that have legalized online poker have reason to celebrate this week after the new opinion on the Wire Act was overturned.

The Wire Act, a 1961 aw makes the transmission of bets across state line illegal, has been the subject of controversy for 20 years. Earlier this year a new opinion on the Wire Act issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ) stated that the Act applied to all forms of gambling.

An older opinion released during the Obama administration stated the Act only applied to sports betting.

Why does was the Wire Act opinion overturned?

The New Hampshire Lottery Commission filed a lawsuit against the DOJ in March to have the new opinion overturned. The new opinion was damaging to the Lottery Commission because they are partners with companies that housed servers in other states.

Under the new opinion, working with these servers would be considered illegal.

New Hampshire can now breathe easy after U.S. District Court Judge Paul Barnadoro overturned the new opinion earlier this week. According to the Judge’s ruling the Wire Act again only applies to sports betting.

How does this affect online US poker sites?

This is also great news for states that have legalised online poker, including Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware. The three states have entered into agreements to share online poker player pools to increase revenue.

Under the new Wire Act opinion these agreements would be considered illegal and likely would have been shutdown by the DOJ. Two other states that have more recently legalized online poker, Pennsylvania and West Virginia did not enter into any player sharing agreements due to the new opinion. That may change now.

It is unknown at this time if the DOJ will appeal the ruling. In a short statement issued by the DOJ they said they are reviewing the judge’s ruling but will not be commenting further.

The ruling has been delivered in time to beat a deadline imposed by the DOJ prohibiting prosecution under the new opinion. The DOJ enacted a grace period when the new opinion was announced. It gave jurisdictions 90 days before the new opinion would be enforced.

After an extension was granted, the grace period was set to expire on June 14. With the opinion now overturned these states still in violation of the new opinion don’t have to worry about what might have happened on June 14.

 Wire Act opinion overturned. Do you agree?