States Consider Interstate Gaming In Wake Of Wire Act Case

  • The West Virginia Lottery Commission is considering an online poker interstate compact.
  • Currently, the major compact is the MSIGA, which covers Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada.
  • Pennsylvania and Michigan are also potential interstate compact partners.

LAS VEGAS - The West Virginia Lottery Commission is looking into the possibility of joining the MSIGA, which is a large interstate gaming compact.

The MSIGA, which stands for Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement, currently covers three states: Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada.

This allows online poker players in those states to play against online poker players in the other ones, and it also allows for tournaments to qualify players in one state for an event in another state.

In this way, for example, a player in New Jersey could win an online qualifier for the World Series of Poker in Nevada.

West Virginia is not the only state that could potentially join the MSIGA, or form a new compact.

Pennsylvania is famously the largest betting market that is not currently part of the compact, and the WSOP brand is expected to enter the state on Monday..

Michigan is also currently not part of the compact, and what that means is that West Virginia could seek to form a separate compact with those two states.

Far more likely, however, is that all of those states eventually end up in the MSIGA, which would vastly expand the pool of players for online poker tournaments.

The Wire Act And Online Poker

Questions remain about the legality of these compacts. The Wire Act has been interpreted differently under different presidential administrations, and a harsh interpretation, as was the rule under President Donald Trump, could render these compacts invalid.

The Wire Act restricts gambling across state lines. Under Trump, this was read as restricting all gambling, while under Obama and Biden, it was read as restricting only sports betting.

Many states have asked for an end to the ambiguity, and a final ruling on what the Wire Act does and does not cover.

Notably, the Biden administration declined to appeal a case that limited the Wire Act to only sports events.

This was the precipitating event behind all of this talk about new interstate online gambling compacts in the first place - the realization that the current administration was willing to tacitly approve of them.

We’ll see how it pans out in West Virginia, and Pennsylvania and Michigan are also worth keeping an eye on in this context.

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