In New Hampshire, a federal judge has reportedly ruled that the United States Department of Justice’s recent reinterpretation of the Interstate Wire Act of 1961 only applies to those organizations offering multi-state online sportsbetting and not associated lottery services.
According to a report published by the Boston Herald newspaper, Judge Paul Barbadoro from the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire made the ruling yesterday in response to a lawsuit that had been initiated by the New Hampshire Lottery Commission in February. This legal action was purportedly filed after the United States Department of Justice controversially reversed a 2011 opinion to seemingly make it almost impossible for a variety of online gambling operators to offer prizes that had been pooled from players located in multiple American jurisdictions.
The Associated Press’ piece divulged that the suit from the NH Lottery Commission had sought clarification on whether its employees would face prosecution for running multi-jurisdictional online lottery games such as the popular PowerBall and Mega Millions titles. The operator also explained that a negative decision would have resulted in the eastern state losing revenues worth in excess of $90 million a year and consequently seriously impact educational programs that are funded by lottery proceeds.
The Governor for New Hampshire, Chris Sununu (pictured), described the ruling as ‘a historic victory’ that would ‘protect public education in our state.’ The 44-year-old Republican moreover declared that his administration was ‘proud to have led this effort’ in advance of thanking the New Hampshire Lottery Commission ‘for its work on this critical case.’
A representative from American online lottery technologies firm NeoPollard Interactive, Matthew McGill, reportedly told the news service that the ruling is not limited to New Hampshire because the states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Michigan had joined in the effort by filing friend-of-the-court briefs.
“Because the court ‘set aside’ the United States Department of Justice’s incorrect reinterpretation of the [Interstate] Wire Act, this ruling has nationwide impact. Throughout the country, state lotteries and others in the gaming industry once again can rely on the United States Department of Justice’s 2011 opinion that the [Interstate] Wire Act is limited to sportsbetting.”
However, the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling reportedly told the Associated Press that an appeal was likely due to Judge Barbadoro’s ruling being ‘limited.’ This group is supported by the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Las Vegas Sands Corporation, 85-year-old Sheldon Adelson, and had filed an amicus brief in support of the United States Department of Justice’s new position.
According to The Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling…
“While we disagree with many of the views expressed in Judge Barbadoro’s ruling, we are happy that the scope of the opinion was confined to the parties involved. We are confident that other jurisdictions will see this issue very differently and our resolve to protect at-risk populations has only been strengthened by today’s decision.”