DOJ Seeks to Dismiss New Hampshire Lawsuit on Wire Act
The U.S. department of Justice has filed papers in a lawsuit brought by New Hampshire and its state lottery challenging the DOJ’s new legal interpretation of the 1961 Wire Act.
The memo asks that New Hampshire’s request for a summary judgement be denied and the case dismissed.
While neither is likely to happen, the filing suggests that the DOJ will defend its new Wire Act interpretation.
In January, the DOJ reversed a previous opinion that the 1961 act applies only to sports betting where information was exchanged across state lines. The new interpretation holds that the act applies to all forms of gambling and includes internet betting.
The new opinion—which has not been put into effect yet—immediately calls into question the validity of multi-state lotteries and possibly all online gambling where information may be transmitted across state lines. New Hampshire has filed suit challenging the DOJ opinion and several states, including New Jersey and Michigan, have filed briefs in support of the challenge.
The DOJ memo says that the New Hampshire lawsuit should be denied for a lack of standing since no one has been charged under the new opinion and no constitutional issue has been named, among other arguments.
The attorneys general for New Jersey and Pennsylvania have also charged that the new opinion was issued to appease casino owner Sheldon Adelson, who has personally funded a lobbying effort to ban online gambling in the U.S.
The DOJ memo does not address that issue.