DOJ puts off new Wire Act enforcement for 90 days

When the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued its new interpretation of the Wire Act of 1961 earlier this year, it was a move that clearly hadn’t been thought out very well. After all, the idea that gambling operators would cease activities like interstate lotteries, poker pools, and daily fantasy sports overnight would be some pretty wishful thinking. So when the DOJ issued a 90-day reprieve on the new rules last week, it wasn’t a big surprise.
Under the terms of the reprieve, which was first reported on by, US-facing online gambling companies have until June 14 to get into compliance. The original date of compliance was April 15.
The new enforcement delay comes as several lawsuits, filed in hopes of halting the new opinion, have begun winding their way through the courts. The first of those lawsuits was filed by the New Hampshire Lottery Commission in February. Additional legal actions by NeoPollrd Interactive (the platform provider for the New Hampshire Lottery) and the IdeaGrowth online gambling trade group followed shortly thereafter.
As it stands, it appears that the DOJ will delay, and likely continue delaying, any enforcement actions based on the new opinion until it’s held up by a court of law. Until then, it will be held up in a court of law and that might not be good news for the DOJ. After all, one of things these court cases are asking is for a review of the process that brought the DOJ to seemingly reverse track on the legality of online gambling for no apparent reason. (Though there’s much speculation that the reversal was payback to casino owner and online gambling hater, Sheldon Adelson for donating $100 million to GOP candidates ahead of the recent mid-term elections.)
Until the courts decide the fate of the Wire Act, the fate of online gambling in the United States remains very much in limbo.