Today, Joe Biden will be sworn in as the next President of the United States. While he will just be taking office this week, talk is already starting as to how the new president could help the online gambling world. Dickinson Wright, a law firm in Michigan, spoke with Gaming America magazine recently, revealing they feel that the new administration will do away with the 2018 ruling by the Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding a new opinion of the Wire Act.
In 2011, under the Obama Administration, the Wire Act from the 1960s was updated to allow for interstate gambling. The law had to be updated due to technological advances like the internet. With the decision, online casinos, poker, lottery, and other options could launch in the US. The Trump DOJ decided to reverse this decision back in 2018 and this led to many issues with states worrying about passing online gambling legislation and working with other states. Now it seems many analysts feel that Biden will reverse the ruling once again.
Stirring up Trouble
When the 2018 change came to pass, it caused a huge stink in the online gambling industry. New Hampshire filed a lawsuit as they felt the change affected their ability to offer lottery gaming. The state’s Federal District Court ruled in favor of the state and against the new Wire Act opinion, but the DOJ has decided to appeal.
For Dickinson Wright attorneys, Patrick Sullivan, Jeff Silver, and Greg Gemiganani, they feel the appeal will be dropped by the Biden DOJ and the 2018 change voided. With this move, the opinion would go back to the 2011 change and the Wire Act would only apply to sports betting.
The attorneys actually feel the change will open up a clear path for intrastate online games in the United States as well as expanded use of interstate-wide progressives via tribal and commercial operators.
With the Wire Act back in its 2011 state, it would help Pennsylvania become involved in interstate online poker gaming. The state launched its online poker industry in 2019 but have yet to join in with Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada to pool player liquidity. These three states had already done so before the 2018 rule change.
Pennsylvania was worried about getting involved and having to make changes with its industry, especially with the launch being so new. If the Biden administration does make the change, it would not be surprising to see the Keystone State quickly sign agreements and launch interstate options with the other iGaming states.