Trade group launches Wire Act Challenge (that’s the third one if you’re counting)
iDEA Growth, a trade group that lobbies in favor of online gambling in the US, is launching a challenge to the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) recent re-interpretation of the Wire Act of 1961. The group filed their challenge in the District Court of New Hampshire and is the third body to officially challenge the stunning reversal of policy by the DOJ.
Like the other challenges, the iDEA Growth challenge maintains that the DOJ completely ignored case law and legislative history when they reversed their own 2011 decision to limit the scope of the act to sports betting. iDEA Growth’s lead attorney, Jeff Ifrah explained the group’s legal strategy to iGaming Business saying, “The January 14, 2019, opinion glosses over case law precedent and largely ignores the legislative history that accompanied the Wire Act, which supports the original 2011 Memo.”
What Ifrah doesn’t say, but is widely acknowledged in the gaming industry, is that the DOJ’s reversal on its previous Wire Act policy was a favor to a GOP political donor. The new policy was announced the day after the 2018 mid-term elections – the same election that casino magnate Sheldon Adelson donated more than $100 million to GOP candidates. Adelson, not coincidentally, is an outspoken critic of online gambling.
Irah went on to express confidence in his group’s chances of putting the Wire Act back to its 2011 form saying, “We trust that the New Hampshire Court will give appropriate weight to judicial precedent over political factors in making its decision, a decision sure to have a major impact on a fast-growing industry poised to offer significant economic benefits to states across the country.”