New Jersey Threatens Wire Act Lawsuit Over Late ChangeFebruary 25, 2019 1:50 pm
New Jersey has fired another shot at the Department of Justice (DOJ) over their recent opinion reversal of the Wire Act.
A previous opinion decided by the DOJ during the Obama administration was recently changed. Under the old decision it was determined that the Wire Act, which relates to the illegality of transmission of betting information across state lines, only applied to sports betting.
Under the DOJ’s new decision the wire act would apply to all forms of gambling, including online poker.
This holds dire repercussion for states like New Jersey which currently has interstate compacts to share poker player liquidity with Delaware and Nevada. Under the new interpretation of the wire act these forms of compacts could be deemed illegal and shutdown.
Who is filing the NJ Wire Act change lawsuit?
Striking back against the new opinion is New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney. He has sent a letter to the DOJ openly criticizing their new opinion and stating that if they do not reverse their decision New Jersey will see them in court.
In the letter Sweeney wrote, ““If the OLC 2019 Wire Act Opinion is not rescinded, I have authorized former Senator Raymond Lesniak to file suit in U.S. District Court on behalf of the New Jersey Senate for a Declaratory Judgment that the 2019 OLC Opinion is arbitrary and capricious and that the statutory problems of the Wire Act are uniformly limited to gambling on sporting events or contests.”
This is the second shot New Jersey has fired against the new Wire Act opinion. Two weeks earlier New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewa filed a Freedom of Information Act request attempting to find out if casino baron and lobbyist Sheldon Adelson had any undue influence on the DOJ decision.
New Jersey has a lot to lose if the wire act change goes forward, as do other states engaged in interstate compacts. It will be interesting to see if these other states, such as Delaware and Nevada join New Jersey in their fight against the new wire act.