The U.S. Department of Justice just announced major restrictions on online gambling. In a new public opinion report, they say the federal Wire Act includes all betting that crosses state boundaries, leaving the future of placing bets on the internet up in the air.
In the DOJ's public opinion report, the agency said the Wire Act of 1961 says all forms of online gambling across state lines are illegal. This reverses a 2011 opinion, which only prevented sports betting. The DOJ says the 2011 judgment “conflicts with the plain language of the Wire Act.”
UNLV gaming expert David Schwartz says it’s hard to tell how this latest interpretation of the Wire Act will impact Nevada.
"If you play with mobile apps, if you bet on sports with mobile apps in Nevada, if you play Poker in Nevada on mobile apps or your computer, it doesn't touch that," said David Schwartz, the director of Center for Gaming Research at UNLV. "If you want to do that across state lines though, it might affect that. It could restrict some of the poker pooling where people can join from different states into one pool.”
The Nevada Gaming Control Board also says the implications are yet to be determined.
“There is an interstate compact between Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey, where Nevada participates with regard to poker only, and that’s in question,” said Becky Harris, the chair of the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
Some people say the restrictions are ridiculous, while others believe little will change. “I think that people who like to do the online thing will continue to do it," said Kenny Jones, Las Vegas resident.
Gaming operators have 90 days to comply with the new regulations. It is also worth mentioning that the DOJ's opinion is entirely separate from the U.S. Supreme Court's decision last year, where it allowed states to legalize sports betting.