DOJ Issues Opinion: Non-Sports Betting Online Gaming Does Not Violate the Wire Act

On December 23, 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice released an opinion issued on Sember 20, 2011, by Virginia A. Seitz, the Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division.  The13-page opinion concludes that "interstate transmissions of wire communications that do not relate to a "sporting event or contest," 18 U.S.C.Sec. 1084(a), fall outside the reach of the Wire Act."  The opinion responded to inquiries by the States of Illinois and New York about whether the Wire Act may prohibit States from conducting in-state lottery transactions via the Internet if the transmissions over the Internet during the transaction crossed State lines, and may also limit States' abilities to transmit lottery data to out-of-state transaction processors.

Although the opinion is limited to the inquiries about state lotteries, it sets the possibilities that all kinds of online gaming from outside the U.S. can occur, especially in view of the WTO decision in favor of Antigua and Barbuda against the U.S.

The DOJ decision caused stocks of online gaming companies to rise.


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