New Jersey Attorney General Files a Lawsuit against DoJ over Wire Act

Publish: 13.05.2019

New Jersey’s Attorney General has announced it has filed a lawsuit against the US Department of Justice.

According to the available information, this move has been made since the Department of Justice failed to provide answers regarding the possible influence of Sheldon Adelson on the department’s opinion on the Wire Act.

The Latest Opinion Could Have a Significant Impact

In effect since 1961, this piece of legislation outlawed interstate gambling in order to tackle the involvement organized crime had in the country’s gambling industry. Half a century later, back in 2011, the Department of Justice announced the Wire Act applied to all forms of online gambling, but such an opinion was heavily criticized by the industry and it was soon revised. The Department of Justice later announced the said Act only applied to wagering on sports.

This opened up a whole new world of possibilities for states such as New Jersey, who made online casino gaming legal, launching its first operations in 2013. Since then, the online gambling industry in the Garden State recorded more than $2 million in revenue, bringing over $150 million to the state coffers through taxation.

However, in January this year, the Department of Justice once against stated the Wire Act applied to all forms on online gambling – casino games, lotteries and sports betting included. The new opinion allows federal prosecutors to take legal actions against online gambling operators even in those states where sports betting has been made legal before and after the decision of the US Supreme Court to repeal the PASPA in May last year.

New Jersey Attorney General (pictured below) believes the most recent opinion was lobbied for by businessman and casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. As the Department of Justice failed to provide information regarding the efforts that Adelson made over this opinion, the state’s Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal decided to file a lawsuit against this federal executive department.


What about the Lawsuit?

Back in February, Grewal made a Freedom of Information Act request in order to get answers about Adelson alleged involvement in the latest opinion, but since then the Department of Justice failed to provide any sort of response to this enquiry.

In the lawsuit, the Attorney General explained that the state of New Jersey had requested a quick response since the new opinion was set to enter into effect in June. Under the guidelines of the Department of Justice, an answer to such a request should have been made within 20 days. But three months later, there was still no sign that an answer would arrive.

Sheldon Anderson is the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Las Vegas Sands. The businessman is known as an ardent opponent of legal online gambling in the country, as he firmly believes the online sector poses a serious threat to the traditional land-based casino industry.

Commenting on the decision to file a lawsuit, the Attorney General said such a move had been especially important to figure out if the federal crackdown on online gambling was the result of a lobbying campaign by a single individual seeking to protect his personal business interests.

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