IGT has won its case against the US Department of Justice (DOJ) over its interpretation of the Wire Act, according to Bonus.com.
The global lottery and gaming firm filed a suit against the DOJ on November 23, 2021, and named the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) at the DOJ as disseminating the DOJ’s 2018 interpretation of the Wire Act.
IGT stated, at the time, that “gaming operators such as IGT face a credible threat of prosecution that poses a present and identifiable hardship as a result of OLC’s new interpretation of the Wire Act.”
This was an issue previously raised by the New Hampshire Lottery Commission (NHLC) and NeoPollard, who wanted to overturn a 2011 ruling by extending the Wire Act to cover all forms of internet gambling.
The NHLC and NeoPollard were successful in their claim and the 2018 ruling was successfully overturned by the District Court for the District of New Hampshire in 2019, with the DOJ declining to appeal.
However, while it was considered unlikely that the DOJ would prosecute online lotteries, not all operators were comfortable with the ambiguous legislation and subsequent rulings.
IGT took it upon itself to file a motion against the DOJ’s interpretation of the Wire Act, arguing that it had left any non-sports betting online companies in a state of legal limbo.
There were fears that such ambiguity left their business open to prosecution for transmitting data across state lines.
But the industry can breathe a collective sigh of relief as IGT’s recent triumph appears to have finally settled the matter once and for all, doubling down on the precedent set in the NHLC and NeoPollard lawsuit.
US lottery and gaming operators can now trade without the threat of falling foul of the Wire Act and, specifically, IGT can conduct its online lottery services in 37 US states without fear of being subjected to imprisonment or any fines.
“Judgement is in favour of the Plaintiffs, International Game Technology PLC and IGT Global Solutions, and against the Defendants, Merrick B. Garland and The United States Justice Department,” the court ruling read.