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A Blog About Online Gaming and Entertainment Regulations

December 26, 2011

New DOJ Opinion Paves Way to Legal Online Poker

By: Ifrah Law
On December 23, 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice revealed that it has reversed a long-held position by stating that the Wire Act applies only to sports betting. This marks a major change in policy for DOJ, which has long contended that the Wire Act prohibits all forms of Internet gambling, including poker. Late that day, the DOJ released a 13-page legal opinion dated September 20, 2011, written by Assistant Attorney General Virginia Seitz in response to a 2009 request by New York’s lottery division and the Illinois governor’s office to analyze the application of the Wire Act to their plans to use the Internet and out-of-state processors to sell lottery tickets. The opinion noted that “nothing in the materials supplied by the Criminal Division suggests that the New York or Illinois lottery plans involve sports wagering, rather than garden variety lotteries. Accordingly, we conclude that the proposed lotteries are not within the prohibitions of the Wire Act.” The opinion states, “e conclude that interstate transmissions of wire communication that do... Read more

On Dec. 22, 2011, the Nevada Gaming Commission unanimously approved regulations drafted by the Nevada Gaming Control Board that could make Nevada the first state to provide online gambling within its borders. Earlier this year the Nevada state legislature passed legislation allowing for intrastate online gaming.  In June, Governor Brian Sandoval, a former Nevada Gaming… Read More

On Nov. 18, 2011, the House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade held its second hearing on the legalization of online gaming. The subcommittee had held an initial hearing on the subject last month. The hearing began with an opening statement from subcommittee chair Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.), who noted that… Read More

On Oct. 25, 2011, the possibility of legal online poker in the United States was aired before the House Energy and Commerce Committee subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade at a hearing entitled “Internet Gaming: Is There a Safe Bet?” The hearing was convened to discuss the “Internet Gambling, Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening… Read More

Will the German state of Schleswig-Holstein become the “Las Vegas of the North,” as some are already calling it? Last month, Schleswig-Holstein passed new online gambling legislation that will allow for online gaming beginning next year. The move will bring legal online gaming to one of Europe’s biggest and previously most closed markets. Schleswig-Holstein’s law… Read More

In a 7-0 decision, the Illinois Supreme Court recently upheld legislation that will allow video gaming in the state for the first time. Earlier this month, the court ruled in favor of the Illinois legislature’s 2009 omnibus bill for funding capital projects that included the Video Gaming Act. The legislation had been challenged by Chicago… Read More

On July 14, 2011, Sen. Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking the Department of Justice to clarify its position regarding enforcement of online gambling laws. The tone of the letter suggests that Sen. Reid, who has been a supporter… Read More

Last month, citing evidence that illegal gambling was going on at “Internet cafés” throughout the state, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley issued a new permanent regulation banning gambling at such places. The regulation bans the operation of establishments “where a gambling purpose predominates over the bona fide sale of bona fide goods or services” – in… Read More

The momentum toward federal legalization of online poker took a significant step forward on Friday, June 24, when Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) held a press conference to discuss the details of his legalization bill. The “Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2011” would both legalize online poker and create a… Read More