Joe Biden Says Wire Act Opinion Is Threatening Progress

Joe Biden supports opposition against Wire Act, arguing the latest DOJ Office of Legal Counsel’s Opinion would upset much of the progress made in the industry.

Presidential Hopeful Joe Biden Blasts Wire Act

Democratic presidential hopeful, Joe Biden, has openly expressed concern about the latest Department of Justice Opinion of the Wire Act of 1961. According to Biden, a reversal of the Wire Act to pre-2011 could lead to a completely ‘wipe-out’ of gaming innovation achieved over the past seven years.

Joe Biden spoke to CDC Gaming Reports, an established media covering the gaming industry in the United States, arguing that he wouldn’t support any restrictive measures that affect the industry, distinguishing himself from the “Trump administration.”

Wire Act Facing More Political Pressure

In January, the Department of Justice introduced its revised Opinion of the Wire Act, targeting cross-border exchange of information, and effectively threatening to ban any form of online gambling.

While state-to-state data exchange in the gaming sector in the U.S. aren’t very common, iLotteries are fully reliant on them. In fact, the previous time the Wire Act was revised was exactly to allow lotteries to pool their player bases and allow for bigger prize pools leading to bigger interest in their games.

Since January, many have been uncertain about the future of the industry, however. New Hampshire even managed to challenge and successfully defeat the Wire Act’s Opinion, when a district court decided it was unconstitutional and it badly-defined who would be liable for breaking the Opinion and under what specific terms. The DOJ responded in kind, however, bringing the issue up again and pleading the decision.

Furthermore, Pennsylvania postponed the launch of its online gaming industry by a month in 2019 amid the general uncertainty stemming from the Wire Act Opinion and how soon it would be enforced, if at all.

Biden Warns Against Undoing Sports Betting Progress

In explaining his arguments, Biden cited Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania and the progress made in all of these states, specifically with regards to online gaming activities. Instead of trying to ban the activity, Biden said that state and federal authorities should work together to create a safe gaming environment for everyone.

Biden also commended the state of the gaming industry in Nevada and pointed out its significance for the state. However, he didn’t specify that online gaming – the main issue targeted by the DOJ’s latest opinion – isn’t permitted in Nevada.

Analysts have agreed that the enactment of the Wire Act’s latest Opinion would have serious ramifications for the entire industry in the United States, leading to loss of gross gaming revenue (GGR) and possibly suspending iLotteries.

Plunges in lottery numbers would translate into scarcer funding for state budgets, which rely on all sorts of gaming operations to prop up retirement funds across the country. Meanwhile, 19 states from across the U.S. have legalized are very close to launching their sports betting industries.

Most recently, Michigan passed its own laws, promising mobile betting and gaming on top of everything else. The focus is increasingly on mobile operations, but some states still restrict all forms of mobile gaming. To vie with offshore operators, they may need to change their act.

Other presidential candidates, including Andrew Yang, have been also looking favorably on online gaming.

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