The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has filed a notice of appeal following the decision in June by the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire to find in favor of the New Hampshire Lottery Commission (NHLC) in the long-awaited ruling on last year’s revised opinion of the Wire Act by the DoJ.
The notice of appeal reads: “Please take notice that all Defendants (the United States of America; the United States Department of Justice; and William Barr, in his official capacity as Attorney General) hereby appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit from the Court’s June 20, 2019 Judgment, as well as the Court’s June 3, 2019, Memorandum and Order and the Court’s April 12, 2019 Order.
In the June ruling, one that brought relief to lottery, poker and casino operators across the country, United States District Judge Paul Barbadoro stated: “I hereby declare that § 1084(a) of the Wire Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1084(a), applies only to transmissions related to bets or wagers on a sporting event or contest. The 2018 OLC Opinion is set aside. SO ORDERED.”
As predicted at the time of the ruling, any relief was thought likely to be temporary with the prospect of a DoJ appeal seen as an inevitability. The case will now advance to the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
iDEA Growth, a trade group representing all sectors of the mobile gaming industry, responded to the DoJ appeal. Founder Jeff Ifrah said: “The Department’s action, while hardly unexpected, is certainly unwarranted. DOJ generally files appeals of adverse district court decisions as a matter of course.
“We hope that, rather than engaging in a protracted, expensive and ultimately unsuccessful legal fight, the Department will take this opportunity to negotiate a settlement which will focus the Wire Act and DOJ’s enforcement resources on the right targets – the unlicensed illegal offshore Internet gambling operators who do not create jobs or tax revenue in the U.S. and do not appropriately protect consumers.”