DOJ Request Extension in Wire Act Appeal
The US Department of Justice’s appeal of the June ruling against their reinterpretation of the Federal Wire Act has been delayed. Last week, the DOJ requested and been granted an extension to file an appellant’s brief.
Originally, the DOJ was supposed to file the brief by November 12th, but now they have until December 20th to do so. What this means for the potential appeal remains to be seen but some are hopeful that this is good news for the US regulated online gambling market.
DOJ Files Extension to December 20th
The DOJ was originally scheduled to file initial briefs for their appeal of the June verdict declaring that the Federal Wire Act only applies to sports betting. New Jersey had filed a lawsuit against the DOJ challenging its 2018 revised memo on the Wire Act. That memo declared that online gambling fell under the umbrella of the Wire Act despite a 2013 memo from the DOJ stating that it only applied to sports betting.
District Court Judge Paul Barbadoro sided with New Hampshire in June, stating that the Wire Act still only applies to sports betting. The DOJ then made moves to appeal the case and the deadline for initial briefs was November 12th, 2019.
The DOJ filed a motion last week asking for an extension of the November 12 deadline and the First Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to an extension to December 20, 2019.
Will the DOJ Continue Pursuing This Case?
PokerFuse.com made an interesting point regarding the filing of this extension. They spoke with Jeff Ifrah, founder of the iDevelopment and Economic Association (iDEA), about this filing and Ifrah said that this could be a good sign that the DOJ could be about to pull an about-face on the issue.
According to Ifrah, “either they really needed an extension of time, or that they are not yet willing to commit to a position in writing containing their arguments with respect to the scope of the Wire Act.”
Ifrah then continued stating that the DOJ has had ample time to file a draft and formulate their opinion on the matter. He speculated that “there is reason to remain optimistic that they are considering no longer pursuing its reinterpretation of the Wire Act.”
Will the 2020 Elections Play a Role in the DOJ’s Decision?
We all know that the 2020 election cycle is beginning to ramp up and many are hoping that President Donald Trump will be defeated in his re-election attempt. If this happens, many feel that this is a good thing for online gambling in the United States.
It is no secret that President Trump and his administration has sided with anti-gambling pundits such as Sheldon Adelson. His administration is partially to blame for the DOJ moving forward in their attempts to shut down online gambling in the United States.
Should Joe Biden or another Democrat win the election, there is a good chance that the new administration will drop the reinterpretation of the Wire Act. We likely won’t see any movement towards regulation at the federal level, but the states will be left alone to pursue iGaming regulation.
Lawsuit Pivotal Moment for US Regulated Gambling Market
As you may already know, this case will greatly impact the future of regulated online gambling in the United States. A ruling in the favor of the DOJ will effectively shut down most online gambling sites in the United States except those who strictly abide by the DOJ interpretations.
The interstate online poker network between NJ, NV, and Delaware would shut down immediately and many online operators in those states would have to shut down until they can bring all processes intrastate.
What’s worse, many states that are on the fence for online gambling will likely delay or abandon efforts for regulation rather than face the wrath of the DOJ. The next few weeks could greatly shape the future of the regulated market in the United States.