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West Virginia sports betting app stalls on Wire Act worries

When the US Department of Justice issued its latest re-interpretation of the Wire Act of 1961 last November, no one really knew what the real life consequences of that action would be. This week, the ripple effect of that action (widely seen as a gift to anti-online poker zealot and GOP donor Sheldon Adelson) hit the residents of West Virginia.
On Wednesday afternoon, West Virginia state Lottery Director John Myers announced that the launch of the state’s mobile sports betting app was being delayed in an effort to conform with the parameters of the new Wire Act.
According to a report on the WV Metro News, lottery officials are moving the state’s bet server, which is currently located in New Jersey, to West Virginia where the state’s wallet server is located. The bet server is operated by DraftKings, which is located in New Jersey and is developing the app.
“The location of one of the servers was in question during the testing period. I think we have agreement among everybody that that needs to be located in the state of West Virginia in order to make sure that there is not an issue or violation of the federal Wire Act,” Myers told reporters this week.
Myers went on to point out that there are no legal precedents guiding the decision to move the servers, but that they were acting out of an abundance of caution. This goes to show that there are, and will continue to be, very real results of the DOJ’s bizarre, and unexpected, U-turn on the legality of interstate online gambling and the legality of regulated sports betting in America.