US Department of Justice Abandons Fight Over the Wire Act of 1961

US Department of Justice Abandons Fight Over the Wire Act of 1961 ( Click to Enlarge )

In a major piece of news for US online gambling, the United States Department of Justice has ended its fight in the courts over the Wire Act. This essentially confirms what most industry experts already knew. This also opens up the way for online gambling to continue to grow in the United States.

Wire Act Fight Dropped by US Department of Justice

For quite a while, there has been a fight in the United States over a particular law. This law is the Wire Act of 1961, a law much older than the Internet itself. However, the date of the thing has not stopped the Department of Justice from using it more recently with online gambling.

The significance of the fight over the Wire Act cannot be understated. It has been the single most important legal battle for online gambling in the US.

Because this is such a complicated battle with so many moving parts, it’s hard to summarize it. In what follows, we’re going to break down several of the most important implications. We’ll also show you what you need to know moving forward if you are a US player.

The DOJ Announces No More Appeals

The reason that this fight is over is that it was tried in the First Circuit Court. While the Department of Justice lost the decision, that’s not actually the most important part. The most important part is that they announced that they won’t be pursuing an appeal.

In short, that means that the legal battle over this dated law is done and over with.

Why a Law From 1961 Was Important in 2021

Some people may wonder what bearing a law from 1961 would have on an online activity. The issue is that the 1961 Wire Act was designed to give the federal government a tool to go after sports betting operations tied into organized crime. At the center of it is making it illegal to take sports bets over the phone across state lines.

Most “normal” people and lawyers alike read the law as the above. However, the Department of Justice asserted on and off for a long time that this was not the case. Instead, they argued that it made all online gambling illegal in the United States. This bizarre decision was pretty obviously political in nature. Any objective reading of the law on any level would clearly see that this was not the case.

However, politics are what they are, and this battle waged on for a very long time. It’s now hopefully over, and we’ll see where things go from here on that front.

The Implications for US Online Gambling Currently

The biggest implication for now is that a lot of legal threats against online gambling are gone. For several years, individual states have been operating their own licensed online gambling setups. More states each year have been regulating the industry as well.

However, the Department of Justice was always looming over everything. The issue was that, with their reading of the Wire Act at the time, those online gambling operations would be illegal under federal law despite being regulated at the state level.

That’s why this Wire Act issue getting cleared up is such a big deal for what is already going on. It takes the pressure off of the states already offering online gambling. Moreover, it removes pressure from states that may have thought about regulating the industry. However, they may have thought twice about it because of the possibility of the DOJ cracking down. That could have easily led to a net loss on the whole operation, which would defeat the point.

For the future, this creates a lot of opportunities for players. On top of that, it removes a lot of the anxieties that both players and operators would have. In short, it removes the entire foundation of the problems with online gambling in the United States. The consequences of this are very clearly going to change the course of the industry as a whole forever.