The American Gaming Association (AGA) has tried to alleviate fears in light of the newly-adopted Department of Justice (DoJ) Opinion, threatening to undo much of the progress that has been achieved in the online gaming world over the last several years.
DoJ’s Opinion – The Story So Far
The turn of the year brought hopes that online gaming & sports betting will be expanding across the United States at a decent clip. In New York, Senator Joe Addabbo submitted a new bill aiming to legalize online poker & gaming.
Majority Floor Leader for Michigan Mike Kowall expressed his confidence that regardless the challenges, online gaming was coming to the state. The entire world seemed to move towards a legalized gaming industry – until disaster struck.
The Department of Justice (DoJ)’s Office of Legal Counsel announced that it would reverse a previous interpretation of the Wire Act of 1961 (which effectively bans sports betting) to cover other activities as well, including online gaming and poker.
The community was in an uproar and fear was palpable in the air until someone said – it might not be enforced.
It was as if U.S. Attorney General Rob Rosenstein heard, so he announced that the new interpretation would be enforced three months after signing, giving businesses 90 days to comply before a coup de grâce was struck.
What the American Gaming Association (AGA) Thinks
AGA has long been proponent of minimum involvement into the gaming & betting industry. The Association has sought to explain the importance of having a regulated, but competitive market that isn’t under the thumb of the federal government. AGA’s opposition is well-documented, outlining the areas in which the government should be involved to begin with:
While federal regulation of sports betting will continue to be a non-starter for the gaming industry, we appreciate the sponsors’ recognition that more must be done to curb illegal sports betting operations.
Today’s stance on the legal course charted by DoJ reflects AGA’s firm belief that the market should remain unblemished by overreaching regulation:
It is unfortunate that the Department of Justice departed from well-established practice in reversing its previous opinion without a compelling reason to do so. – AGA SVP PR Sara Slane
Ms. Slane explained that while the Opinion was an upset in the long-term plans of the industry, it could not in any way impact the ability of states and tribes to legalize their gaming industries when it came to separate states.
She concluded by saying that AGA is prepared to investigate any cases of illegal gaming and work with shareholders and the DoJ to shut down such enterprises.
In the past, Regulus Partners, an analytics firm, has said that such overextending meddling in the gaming industry could lead to years of ill-defined legal boundaries for any operator in the sector.