The Department of Justice (DOJ) gave iGaming operators a 90 day grace period to stop inter-state shared liquidity due to the fact that they decided to interpret the Wire Act in new light and pass an opinion banning all inter-state gaming.
The ruling surprised and upset a number of iGaming operators as well as state gaming regulators who had inter-state gaming compacts as it generated a significant amount of revenue for them.
When the DOJ issues its 90 day ultimatum, a number of state gaming regulators and iGaming operators contemplated taking legal action as they felt that the DOJ decision and interpretation was unfair.
New Hampshire has officially become the first state to initiate legal proceedings against the DOJ with regards to the Wire Act opinion. New Hampshire has a thriving casino and state lottery business which allows for the sale of online lottery tickets to other states. The DOJ opinion would ban New Hampshire’s state lottery from offering lottery tickets in other states and could result in them losing millions of dollars.
This would have a negative impact as funds from the state lottery are used to fund public education in the state. New Hampshire decided to proceed with legal action after threatening the DOJ earlier this month over a potential lawsuit.
New Hampshire Pushes For Quick Ruling
The lawsuit filed by New Hampshire states that the 23 page opinion released by the DOJ does not have clear cut language which allows different interpretations. Gordon MacDonald, NH Attorney General said that if Congress wants to stop all interstate transmissions that would include a ban on the state lottery, then it needs to issue an opinion that has clear language which leaves no misinterpretation.
The New Hampshire lawsuit also pushes for a quick decision to be made on the matter and legal analysts believe that it is quite possible for a decision to be made before the 90 day period from the DOJ expires. Some of these legal analysts were surprised over the fact that NH decided not to press for a preliminary injunction or ask for a temporary restraining order. New Hampshire preferred to ask directly for a summary judgement.
There could be other states that now follow in the steps of New Hampshire. Pennsylvania and New Jersey have already expressed that they are not happy with the DOJ opinion and have called on the DOJ to withdraw the opinion.