At the beginning of the year, the United States Department of Justice announced the reinterpretation of the 1961 Wire Act, a move that has been met with varying degrees and opposition across a number of states. The controversial reinterpretation means that the law no longer applies to sports betting but to all forms of online gambling in the United States. Both state governments and casino operators have been very vocal about their displeasure with the move and a good number of them are already taking steps towards ensuring the law does not get implemented.
At the helm of the anti-Wire Act battalion are entities within the state of New Hampshire including the New Hampshire State Lottery who have gone as far as filing a lawsuit against the Department of Justice. With more and more plaintiff’s continuing to file lawsuits against the new Wire Act opinion, the suits have since been consolidated into a single action with Pennsylvania being one of the interested parties. The Keystone States through its lottery and the Department of Revenue even filed a request to be part of the suit citing concerns that lottery games like the Powerball would be crippled. If that were to happen, it would mean a great loss of income to the tunes of over $1 billion.
Judge Denies Request
Unfortunately, a judge has just dealt a blow to the state’s efforts by turning down the request to join the lawsuit that is being spearheaded by New Hampshire. According to Judge Paul J. Barbadoro, the case which was filed on February 15 has nothing to with Pennsylvanian gaming law and therefore the state’s complaint is not within the jurisdiction of the 1srt Circuit Court. He further noted that “an adverse ruling by this court would not bind the proposed intervenor, and nothing prevents the proposed intervenor from bringing its own action in a court with proper venue to protect its interests.”
“I categorically reject the proposed intervenor’s contention that it is entitled to intervene as of right in this case simply because an adverse ruling could affect the lawfulness of its state statutes under certain circumstances,” the judge’s ruling read.
Fortunately, the denial of the state’s request to join the lawsuit does not mean that it will no longer be able to participate in the fight. The judge granted proposed intervenor amicus status with “the right to file a supporting brief and present oral argument”. To take advantage of this, the intervenors will need to file an amicus brief by Wednesday. As it stands, some other states including New Jersey and Michigan have already filed an amicus brief