Author: Anton Johan
Even though the global online gambling industry continues to grow in leaps and
bounds each year in terms of revenues generated and new markets opened, there
are still many countries only too happy to ban the popular internet activity,
the United States being the most glaring example.
However, thanks to a 'bombshell' dropped by the US Justice of Department (DoJ)
at the end of last year, that may well change the face of online gambling in
American and indeed the world in the not too distant future. The bombshell in
question was delivered in the form of an opinion by the DoJ, when asked earlier
in the year by the states of New York and Illinois if selling in-state lottery
tickets would in any way be in violation of the Wire Act of 1961.
The DoJ Determined the Wire Act did Not Apply
After much deliberation, the DoJ responded to New York and Illinois with an
opinion on September 20, which was only released to the public in late December.
In a nutshell, the DoJ determined that the Wire Act did not apply [in terms of
New York and Illinois breaking the law by selling in-state lotto tickets] since
the lottery information passing beyond state borders was not in reference to
bets or wagers relating to 'sporting events or contests'.
What this in effect meant, was that the DoJ conceded the Wire Act - which has
always traditionally been used by US authorities to justify the banning and
prevention of online gambling - was only applicable to sporting events or
contests, and not lotteries, which potentially also let interstate online
casino, poker and bingo gambling off the hook too.
Hence the bombshell, as online gambling fans and operators alike - from the
United States and abroad - quickly realised that one of America's most important
anti-online gambling laws and 'justifications' was in one fell swell swoop
rendered virtually impotent with regards to regards to lottery, casino, poker
and bingo, but obviously not to sports betting.
Note the use of the word virtually above, because the DoJ's opinion is just that
- an opinion. Not a decree, ruling or law, and thus certainly not binding in
court. So while many people in the online gambling industry are jumping up and
down with joy, expecting the US online gambling gates to fly open any day now,
it is not really as simple as that.
Time to License and Regulate US Online Gambling
However, what the DoJ opinion has done is proved that the US government's
justification and laws to ban online gambling may not be as 'watertight' as
previously thought, which may signal that the time is finally right to license
and regulate online gambling on a federal and state level, and in doing so
generate much needed taxable revenues.
And if that happens in the next few
months, 2012 could well and truly be the year of online gambling.
Posted by Anton Johan at 13:33 on 4 January 2012