New Jersey joins lawsuit against Wire Act change

New Hampshire wire act lawsuit

New Jersey’s public outcry against the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) new opinion of the Wire Act grew to a public fight earlier this week after they formally joined a lawsuit against the DOJ.

After the DOJ released their new opinion on the Wire Act, the state of New Hampshire was the first state to launch a formal lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the New Hampshire Lottery System, which could be in trouble under the new opinion as even interstate lotteries would be deemed illegal and could be shutdown.

New Hampshire’s lawsuit was filed in Federal court which allowed New Jersey to join in earlier this week.

Why did New Jersey join Wire Act fight?

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal filed an Amicus Brief “in support of plaintiff’s motions for summary judgement” in the New Hampshire lawsuit. New Jersey in their brief is asking the court to find the new Wire Act opinion unlawful.

In the brief, New Jersey spells out how the original opinion on the Wire Act allowed them to create a thriving and expanding online gambling industry in the state. The new opinion is threatening to impede future growth, or even force it to shutdown entirely.

According to New Jersey, since the state legalized online gambling in 2013, a total of 3,374 direct and in-direct jobs have been created in the state. Between 2013 and 2016 it is estimated that there have been $1 billion in gross sales attributed to online gambling with $124.4 million being paid in state taxes and $35 million being paid in license fees.

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The new Wire Act opinion could throw a wrench into this revenue stream and any growth it has attained over the last six years. New Jersey also noted that online poker compacts developed with Delaware and Nevada would also be threatened by the new opinion which would also stifle growth of the industry.

The amicus bill also focused on state lotteries and the major effect the new Wire Act opinion could have on them. According to the bill the 47-state lottery exceeded $80 billion in revenue for the participating states in 2017.

This money was used for educational, environmental and social programs, and if the Wire Act shutdowns interstate lotteries this money and the programs it funds could be at risk.

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