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Memo Could Open Gaming Floodgate

Published: January 3, 2012 2:39 pm ET

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In an announcement which received relatively little fanfare given its magnitude, the United States Department of Justice announced over the holiday season via memo that it has updated its official opinion in regard to the legality of different forms of online wagering.

As a report by the The New American explains, the DoJ now holds the opinion that the Wire Act of 1961 only prevents players from wagering on the outcome of sporting events. Therefore, wagers on other bets are technically not illegal.

Given the DoJ's current position on what is legal and illegal online in terms of online wagering, it is expected that multiple states and various gaming industries will be making pushes in some way, shape or form in hopes of getting their respective industries and expanded gaming offerings legalized and regulated.

The New American report cites law professor and gaming industry consultant I. Nelson Rose as saying in his blog that the DoJ memo has proven to be 'quite a Christmas present' for those looking to expand and legalize their gaming offerings.

Rose wrote on his blog that:

The United States Department of Justice ('DoJ') has given the online gaming community a big, big present, made public two days before Christmas. President Barack Obama’s administration has just declared, perhaps unintentionally, that almost every form of intra-state internet gambling is legal under federal law, and so may be games played interstate and even internationally.

Technically, the only question being decided was, 'Whether proposals by Illinois and New York to use the internet and out-of-state transaction processors to sell lottery tickets to in-state adults violate the Wire Act.' But the conclusion by the DoJ that the Wire Act’s 'prohibitions relate solely to sport-related gambling activities in interstate and foreign commerce,' eliminates almost every federal anti-gambling law that could apply to gaming that is legal under state laws.

To read The New American article in its entirety, click here.

(With files from The New American)


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