While at one point, the biggest online poker news in the United States was various locations taking steps to have it legalised, recent times have seen this situation change. With the recent announcement of the Wire Act reversal, various figures have stood up and voiced their displeasure with it, including Rich Muny, as we reported recently.
Yet, while the voice of one man may be put aside, can the Department of Justice really negate the actions of two US states? Attorney generals in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania have taken it upon themselves to move forward with some tangible action. This comes just a day after a selection of lottery representatives came forward with their own drafted statement of opposition to the Wire Act reversal.
Attorney General’s Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania and Gurbir S. Grewal of New Jersey sent out a letter to the DoJ. In it, they both expressed their “strong objections” to the reversal of the Wire Act, speaking on behalf of their respective states. Not only that, but Grewal would also go on to file a further request for a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). With this, he seeks out records that pertain to the decision made by the DoJ.
What Exactly Does the Letter Mention?
Within the drafted letter, the two states specifically mention that the latest reversal by the DoJ is “wrong” and that it “undermines the values of federalism”. It then goes on to request that the opinion on the Wire Act is withdrawn or, as an alternative, that the DoJ guarantees that no enforcement actions will take place against companies that operate lawfully within their states.
The joint letter is addressed to the US Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, as well as the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. It is actually Rosenstein who has led any sort of public response so far.
The operators providing online poker and gambling within New Jersey have already provided over $1 billion in revenue for the state to date. Additionally, the state’s lottery contributes roughly the same amount to New Jersey every year. In neighbouring Pennsylvania, the iLottery has collected around $30 million in revenue, and that’s since it launched in May of last year. Online gambling was expected to roll out across The Keystone State throughout 2019.
In the letter from the two state AGs, concerns are raised over the fact that the regulated gambling operations within could be affected if the new stance on the Wire Act is enforced. “This decision puts jobs and livelihoods at risk”, the letter states, when referring to thousands of residents working in the industry.
“We can see no good reason for DoJ’s sudden reversal”, another line from the joint letter, pretty much sums up how the states feel regarding the decision.
To finalise, the AGs go on to argue that what could be described as a new interpretation of the Wire Act, “runs contrary to the plain language” that it already utilises.
Grewal’s office has also requested that the FOIA request he has placed is expedited within a 10-day period.