The Department of Justice (DOJ) deadline for Wire Act compliance has been extended, suggesting the industry may yet have a shot at overcoming the latest setback.
Coming to light on February 28, the announcement means that gaming companies will have an extra 60 days to avoid any legal repercussions stemming from the recent Wire Act opinion.
Although the reasons for pushing back the deadline to June 14 haven’t been revealed, the DOJ is giving operators more time to comply. However, what’s interesting about the extension is that it comes at a time when the federal body is facing a string of lawsuits.
Legal Pushback Puts Pressure on the DOJ
Since backtracking on its 2011 interpretation of the Wire Act, the DOJ has faced criticism from a number of sectors. As well as receiving backlash for the seemingly liberal use of ambiguous terminology, cries of crony capitalism have dogged the department.
Indeed, just days after stating the Wire Act bans intrastate communications linked to all forms of betting, reports surfaced that casino magnate Sheldon Adelson may have been instrumental in the move. A long-time opponent of the online gaming industry, information from various sources suggested Adelson pushed the DOJ into its January decision.
Causes aside, the industry has been up in arms ever since. However, unlike Black Friday in 2011, insiders are now prepared to fight back. Following calls from Rich Muny to take the initiative, a trio of organizations have filed lawsuits in New Hampshire.
Essentially designed to protect the states online lottery platform and reverse the Wire Act opinion, the filings are, potentially, the start of more legal woes for the DOJ.
Unity Could be the Key for US Online Gaming
With many more companies having a stake in US online gaming than there were in 2011, operators are unwilling to go quietly into the night.
For that reason alone, the decision to extend the compliance deadline could be significant. Although there are no suggests the DOJ is ready to capitulate, the latest move may be seen as a sign of weakness. If that proves to be the case, that should bode well for future pushbacks.
At this stage, the intrastate online gaming ban could still cause major disruption across the industry. The 2019 World Series of Poker (WSOP) is hosting nine online events this year, but whether players in New Jersey can take part remains to be seen.
However, any form of backtracking should be taken as a positive at this stage. Indeed, if more lawsuits enter the mix and the industry continues to unite, US players may not have to cash in their chips just yet.