Wire Act Opinion Overruled, Benefitting Interstate Online Poker

  • The Wire Act ruling of 2018 has been overturned, allowing interstate gambling for online poker.
  • The Circuit Court declares the Wire Act only appeals to sporting events and contests.
  • This allows interstate online poker tournaments to continue unabated.

WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has overruled the 2018 Wire Act opinion that included online poker and other gambling operations in its interstate restrictions.

While the Wire Act was initially ruled to include sports betting, interstate online gambling like poker and lottery were deemed legal based on a legal opinion of the Wire Act in 2011.

In 2018 the more restrictive opinion was passed and barred interstate poker tournaments from conducting. Now that the opinion has been overruled, players can continue to partake in USA online poker tournaments or interstate lottery knowing it won’t be banned.

DOJ Overturns Opinion

The 2018 DOJ Wire Act Opinion came under scrutiny by the New Hampshire Lottery Commission (NHLC) almost immediately after the opinion was passed.

The NHLC challenged the opinion as the ruling under, the Donald Trump administration, would have nullified interstate lotteries such as the Mega Millions and the Powerball. New Hampshire makes a bulk of its revenue from interstate lottery.

“Hopefully this brings finality to the issue,” said Charlie McIntyre, Executive Director of the NHLC. “I never doubted for a moment we were right, and because we couldn’t reach agreement with the Justice Department, we had to seek redress in the courts. Ultimately, some fights just need fighting.”

The overturned ruling comes just as the transition of power takes place as now the country is under a Joe Biden administration. With the new administration, it is unlikely that an appeal will be filed in the Supreme Court.

This is a major win for the NHLC, other states that benefit from interstate lottery, and online poker players and operators.

What This Means For Poker

Now interstate online poker tournaments can continue to function without the risk of being banned. The ruling maintains that the Wire Act was only directed towards sporting events and other USA online gambling events are unaffected.

Major events like the World Series Of Poker (WSOP) were running the risk of being shut down should the opinion have stayed.

Online poker is one of the biggest draws for legal gamblers and interstate tournaments are extremely popular and profitable for both players and operations.

This case is a major victory for the legal gambling industry as a whole.