PPA Hails DOJ Online Poker Policy ReversalDecember 27, 2011 1:55 pm
On December 23rd, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) signalled a policy reversal in its interpretation of the “antiquated” Federal Wire Act, when it ruled that online poker within a state’s borders was acceptable.
In the past, the DoJ maintained that all types of online gambling was contrary to the ‘The Interstate Wire Act of 1961.’ However, that approach has now been overturned after the DOJ gave a positive response to the questions of New York and Illinois about online lottery sales. Responding to their inquiries about the legality of online gaming, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich, wrote:
“The Wire Act only applies to the transmission of bets or information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers relating to sporting events or contests.”
The historic new policy ruling will now give states the confidence to move ahead with online poker licensing and regulation, albeit within the confines of an individual state’s borders. In other words, a poker player in New York, for instance, would not be able to play against an opponent in Illinois, while a person in Illinois could not purchase an online Illinois lottery ticket.
Following the development, Nevada looks set to become the first American state to offer intrastate online gaming, after it recently adopted its own online poker regulations. Commenting on the recent clarification of the Federal Wire Act by the DoJ, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance John Pappas, commented:
“This will provide policy makers at both the state and federal level with the legal confidence to move forward with licensing and regulation of online poker and other non-sporting activity within their respective jurisdictions. However, it is our hope that our federal policy makers see this as an incentive to move quickly to enact federal licensing and regulation before various states produce a mix of individual state schemes that may not be the best model to serve consumers.”