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DOJ To Extend Compliance Window For New Wire Act Opinion By 60 Days

Amidst Legal Backlash From States And Sheldon Adelson's Declining Health, DOJ Extends Compliance Window For States Until June 14

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When the U.S. Department of Justice changed its opinion on the Wire Act, it was originally rumored that states would have 90 days to comply with the new view of the law.

Now, online gaming analyst Chris Grove is reporting that the window for compliance is being extended another 60 days. This pushes it back from April 15 to June 14. According to Grove, the official announcement of the extension should come later this week from the DOJ.

The new opinion states that all interstate online gambling would be deemed illegal under the Wire Act. It would make online poker compacts that share player pools, as well as interstate lotteries, such as Powerball, illegal under the new interpretation.

Prior to January, when the new interpretation was released, only sports betting that crossed state lines was deemed illegal.

The extension of the compliance window comes on the heels of backlash from states who have moved forward with gambling expansion. Attorney generals from New Jersey and Pennsylvania drafted a letter to the DOJ outlining their objections to the new interpretation. New Jersey’s AG even filed a Freedom of Information Act to see if Sheldon Adelson was involved in overturning the original interpretation.

Adelson, the billionaire owner of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., has been the driver of anti-online gaming legislation. He has used his fortune to lobby lawmakers against any expansion of it.

New Hampshire followed suit shortly after. New Hampshire’s Lottery Commission and its AG challenged the new interpretation with a lawsuit. The suit named U.S. AG William Barr and the DOJ as defendants. "The New Jersey Senate President threatened a lawsuit as well. ":https://www.cardplayer.com/poker-news/23644-new-jersey-senate-president-threatens-to-sue-department-of-justice-if-they-don-t-reverse-wire-act-opinion

With pending legal actions and an extension for compliance, the new opinion seems to be on shaky ground. A few weeks ago, Anthony Cabot, a Distinguished Fellow in Gaming Law at UNLV, told Grove’s outlet that he doesn’t think the new Wire Act opinion would hold up in court.

Even if nothing changes between now and June 14, the federal government would have to enforce the new opinion. They would have to prosecute states that are breaking the new interpretation and Cabot’s opinion is that the feds would lose that legal battle.

Politico reported last week that Adelson’s health is ‘dire.’ He has been out of the office since mid-December and undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Officials who are supporting the new interpretation may be waiting to see how Adelson’s health issues shake out before moving forward with the enforcement.