HomePublicationsNewsletter ArchiveVolume 25Issue 21ATTORNEY GENERAL AND DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FILE NOTICE OF APPEAL IN WIRE ACT CASE

Today, the United States Attorney General William Barr and the Department of Justice filed a Notice of Appeal in District Court challenging the June 20th New Hampshire Federal District Court decision which had rejected their interpretation of the Wire Act’s application to online wagering, appealing the decision to the First Circuit Court of Appeals.  New Hampshire Lottery Commission, et. al v. Attorney General of the United States of America, Case No. 19-CV-00163-PB

In January 2019, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) issued a Wire Act Opinion (“2019 Opinion”) that reversed a prior 2011 DOJ Opinion that held that the Wire Act only applied to sports gambling. In response to the 2019 Opinion, the New Hampshire Lottery Commission brought suit, arguing that the 2019 Memo was incorrect as a matter of law and that if enforced, would shut down New Hampshire’s online lottery sales.  Multiple states, including Michigan, as well as industry groups have filed amicus briefs and participated in oral arguments. NeoPollard Interactive (an online lottery service provider) also filed suit making similar arguments, and the District Court consolidated the cases.

On June 3rd the District Court issued an Opinion holding that the Wire Act does not apply to forms of online gambling other than sports gambling and rejecting the DOJ Opinion.  A motion for reconsideration was filed and the Court denied that Motion on June 20th. The appeal now moves the case to the First Circuit Court of Appeals which will review the legal decisions of the lower court.  The case could have major implications for all forms of online gaming, including state lottery activities online.

 

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