Department Of Justice New Interpretation Of Wire Act of 1961 Good For Online Gambling
Great news for online poker players and online casino gamblers came down the wire on Friday, December 23rd, 2011 as the United States Department of Justice announced their new interpretation of the 1961 Federal Wire Act. In publishing this statement, "interstate transmissions of wire communications that do not relate to a ‘sporting event or contest’ fall outside of the reach of the Wire Act" the U.S. Dept. of Justice essentially re-opened the doors for online poker sites and online casinos to conduct business with United States citizens.
For those not in the know, The Wire Act of 1961 was originally designed to stop offshore sports betting books from taking wagers via wire from bettors within the U.S. Back in 1961 this probably meant making bets via the telephone. As technology grew, the Department of Justice expanded the interpretation to involve all types of online gambling as well as wagering via the Internet. This recent news has made it very clear where the Federal government stands on the issue. Sports betting is still deemed to be illegal however as the Wire Act states it is only illegal for offshore gambling entities to accept wagers placed by wire, none of the liability falls on the bettor.
What Does This Mean For The Online Gambling Industry?
For one thing, it means that several online gambling providers which had previously closed it's doors to United States players will re-enter the market. PartyGaming & PartyPoker had been one of the largest online poker rooms that U.S. players frequently played at before it withdrew itself from the United States. Additionally, multiple types of online casino software should also re-open to the United States, most notably Playtech & Microgaming which are both regarded as some of the best all around casino software brands.
But, the most important thing this announcement means is that this is probably a step in the right direction to having online gambling completely legalized and regulated. Regulation would be a big step forward for the industry as those on the fence about whether to gamble or not online might be swayed if online gambling had the complete approval of the U.S. government. While this new interpretation of the Wire Act is great news for online poker and online casinos, the UIGEA is still going to be a factor in making it difficult to play. The UIGEA severely limits the way that U.S. players can make transactions into online gambling sites, often making it impossible for some players to deposit with credit cards. This is just a minor speed bump and merely an inconvenience.
Basically, as long as players from the United States do not engage in online sports betting nor make transactions directly into gambling sites from American banks, there is no violation of the Federal online gambling laws. This ultimately means that U.S. online gamblers do not need to worry about any money deposited into online poker sites or online casinos being seized because those business are in violation of the Wire Act of 1961.