USDOJ Reexamines 1961 Federal Wire Act


01/13/2012
By Maria McCoyGoogle

Good news for online casino enthusiasts across America came from a surprising source.  The US Dept. of Justice has reversed their stance on internet gambling.  The reversal is a result of a reexamination of the Federal Wire Act of 1961 by the USDOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel.  The Counsel came to the conclusion that the Wire Act does not apply to any forms of gambling except sports betting.  This essentially removes any and all prosecuting power from the USDOJ’s Criminal Division from the Wire Act, which until now was the Division’s primary tool for prosecuting online gambling sites.

MGM’s senior VP of Public Affairs, Mr. Alan Feldman, released a statement urging federal legislative intervention in the void created by the Legal Counsel’s new understanding of the Wire Act.  Supporters of internet gaming, though quite pleased with the new understanding, called for government regulation as well to allow for USA online casinos to function without fear of sudden closure. 

The Legal Counsel of the USDOJ placed the blame for the misunderstanding on the Criminal Division.  The Legal Counsel said that the new understanding of the act corrects the Criminal Division’s erroneous understanding that was used to forbid internet gambling for years.  From this point forward the act will only authorize prosecution for sports betting transfers.

However, it should be noted that, as explained in a letter from Assistant Attorney General Weich to Senate Majority Leader Reid, the USDOJ will still be able to prosecute online casinos in states with local legislation according to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.  The UIGEA is remembered for bringing down three top online casinos this past spring.


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