A friend of mine has a bit of an online gambling habit. He’s not addicted to gambling, but he likes to play in his spare time. Fortunately, he has a lot of money to burn.
Lately, he’s been talking about new rules or regulations that make it difficult or impossible for him to gamble. What is he referring to? Should casual gamblers or casinos be worried?
Your friend may be referring to the Wire Act, which was passed in the 1960s. The act, which hasn’t gotten much attention until recently, has been strictly applied to sports betting. But the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel has determined that online gambling across state lines will be constrained by the law.
Online gambling of any sort will now face greater restrictions than before. Making bets across state lines may become even more difficult or impossible in some cases.
The decision has impacted the casino industry. Stocks of many major casinos have suffered since the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced its opinion. International Game Technology Plc and MGM Resorts International, for example, saw significant declines in their stock valuations.
Experts predict that the decision will negatively affect the casino industry, and they expect there to be legal challenges. The casino industry is worth $240 billion. Naturally, there will be private parties that will appeal the decision.
One thing you can be sure of: there will be a fight. There are many people who have a vested interest in fighting the DOJ’s opinion. Still, no one knows for sure the full extent to which the Wire Act will impact commerce across state lines. Many recent legal changes have been impacting local regulations.
If you take a look at this state by state guide of U.S. gambling laws, some states are permitted legally to operate casinos online. But the recent changes to the Wire Act could complicate the legality of these casinos.
If bets are made across state lines, it would fall under the purview of the Wire Act, making the transaction illegal. The decision means that fewer online gamblers will be able to take advantage of a bonus round in online gambling. Casinos would lose a lot of revenue and a large percentage of their customer base.
Betting within one state, known as intrastate betting, would remain perfectly legal and outside of the purview of the Wire Act. But online casinos would have to take extra steps to ensure that only residents of the state could place bets. The expense and complication of it all may force these casinos to shut down their operations.
The Wire Act should have gamblers worried about online gambling. It makes sense that your friend is concerned. He will have to take extreme caution moving forward. And if you live in a state where online gambling is not permitted, he may no longer be able to place bets online legally.
It sounds like your friend is pretty well-versed on the topic, which is good. The more he knows about the law and how it impacts online gambling, the better he’ll be able to avoid illegal gambling.