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Christmas comes early for Internet Poker Players

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Last Friday before Christmas the Department of Justice revealed that it had changed it’s stance on one of it’s more crucial and cornerstone arguments against the war on Online Gambling. In a letter written by US Deputy Attorney General James Cole wrote, he stated that “The Department Office of Legal Counsel (“OLC”) has analyzed the scope of the Wire Act, 18 U.S.c 1084 and concluded that it is only limited to sports betting.

For years it has been debated wether or not to allow the application of the Wire Act to uphold the Department of Justice’s arguments against online poker. With this new stance on the Wire Act however not only does it remove a cloud that exsisted over the fight of internet poker but could allow several states to sell lottery tickets online.

Not only is this change in stance good for internet poker but it has far-reaching consequences as well. Several states like Illinios and New York have revealed plans for wanted to sell lottery tickets online to adults in their respective states. In 2009 they asked for the Justice Department’s views on the matter and were given a 13 page legal opinion that said “nothing in the materials supplied suggested that NY or IL plans involved sports wagering, and are not within the prohibitions of the Wire Act”

So what does this mean for internet poker? Well the battle isn’t quite over yet. In another letter released, Attorney General Ronald Welch stated: “in states that ban various forms of gambling-including Internet Poker- the Department will be able to investigate and prosecute those gambling businesses under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act and other sections of the criminal code.”

For those not familiar with the Wire Act of 1961 it is a US Federal Law that prohibits the operation of certain types of betting businesses in the United States. It begins with the following text:

Whoever being engaged in the business of betting or wagering knowingly uses a wire communication facility for the transmission in interstate or foreign commerce of bets or wagers or information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest, or for the transmission of a wire communication which entitles the recipient to receive money or credit as a result of bets or wagers, or for information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

So while we are not completely out of the woods in terms of this long standing battle against online poker it’s fair to say that in this fight, we’ve sunk the battleship.

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Posted by on Dec 31 2011. Filed under Poker Legal News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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