Obama: Online Gambling
December 26, 2011 by staff
Obama: Online Gambling, Merry Christmas to the online gambling industry. The Obama administration has cleared the way for states to legalize online poker and other forms of virtual gambling with the release of a new interpretation of the law, reports the Associated Press.
The Justice Department opinion, dated September but only released Friday, holds that the Wire Act of 1961 does not make it illegal for states to use the internet to sell lottery tickets to adults.
Previously, the Justice Department has held that wagers through telecommunications that cross state lines or international borders were illegal.
The question at issue in the Justice Department’s decision was confined to whether states like Illinois and New York could sell lottery tickets online to in-state adults, but the principles behind the DoJ’s decision has wide-ranging effects throughout the industry.
The Justice Department said that the “ordinary meaning of the phrase ‘sporting event or contest’ does not encompass lotteries,” which sparks a precedent in interpretation that could free up states to legalize other forms of virtual gambling.
“The United States Department of Justice has given the online gaming community a big, big present,” said I. Nelson Rose, a gaming law expert who consults for governments and the industry, according to the AP.
The new decision would eliminate “almost every federal anti-gambling law that could apply to gaming that is legal under state laws,” Rose wrote on his blog.
If a state were to legalize intra-state gambling, “there is simply no federal law that could apply,” given the new decision, he said, according to the AP.
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