The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has clarified that the Wire Act should apply to all forms of gambling and not only to sports betting. The clarification could prove a problematic to all forms of igaming in the country that crosses state lines.
The clarification could adversely affect daily fantasy sports, intrastate online casino and poker, online lottery sales and marketing across state lines for all types of gambling.
The DOJ’s new opinion replaces its 2011 iteration released under the Obama administration, which stated that the Wire Act only applied to sports betting.
The Wire Act originally emerged in 1961 and was designed to fight against organised crime by outlawing racing and sports betting across communications systems in the US. Controversy then reined concerning its scope when it was used in the 1990s to prosecute online gambling.
The OLC’s new opinion states: “While the Wire Act is not a model of artful drafting, we conclude that the words of the statute are sufficiently clear and that all but one of its prohibitions sweep beyond sports gambling. We further conclude that the 2006 enactment of UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) did not alter the scope of the Wire Act.”