US DOJ clears up Wire Act, Online Gambling

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Over the years, the US Department of Justice has claimed that most forms of online gambling are illegal because they violate the Wire Act of 1961; the Wire Act makes it illegal for gambling to cross state lines within America. So for the past several years, online casinos, poker rooms, internet horse betting and sports betting in general have been deemed illegal in the US.

However, the US Department of Justice recently came out with a new take on the Wire Act of 1961, which now excludes most forms of online gambling from the bill. Currently, only online sports betting falls under the jurisdiction of the Wire Act.

U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole made the official statement by saying, “The Department’s Office of Legal Counsel has analyzed the scope of the Wire Act, and concluded that it is limited only to sports betting.”

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Excluding activities like online poker and casino gaming from the Wire Act may not mark a dramatic shift in how Americans play casino games, but it technically removes the “illegal” billing. Essentially, the only roadblock to completely legalized casino gaming in America now is the UIGEA, which calls on US banks to reject gambling-related transactions.

Speaking of the UIGEA, it looks like this law will stay in effect for now, which still makes it difficult for offshore online casinos and poker rooms to service US customers. However, the fact that most forms of online gaming no longer fall under the Wire Act is a step in the right direction for legalized and regulated internet play in the United States. And there’s been plenty of talk within the US about regulating online gaming in the near future.

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