Opinion: Opportunities and uncertainty with Internet gaming

"The Justice Department’s position on the legal status of Internet gaming has shifted dramatically, with major implications for Indian country. On December 23, 2011, the Justice Department announced that it had reversed its long-held position on the applicability of the federal Wire Act of 1961 to internet gaming. Instead of a bar to all forms of internet gaming, the Department stated in letters to Senators Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) that the “Wire Act only applies to the transmission of bets or information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers relating to sporting events or contests.” It does not, according to the Department, apply to other forms of online gaming, such as lottery games.

While there are still a number of issues to be resolved, the immediate result of this new interpretation of the Wire Act is likely to be a push by state lotteries across the country to begin offering games online. Prior to December 23, many states were reluctant to move forward with state-sanctioned internet gaming due to concerns that such efforts would result in a confrontation with the Justice Department over the applicability of the Wire Act. Now that the uncertainty about the Wire Act has been resolved (at least for this Administration), many state lotteries, some of which have been laying the groundwork for offering games online for several years, may move quickly to implement such games. In addition, some states are considering legislation to allow commercial entities to offer games online. As a result, it is probable that Indian tribes will be forced to address internet gaming issues at the state level rather than the federal level. This situation presents both uncertainty and opportunities for tribes."

Get the Story:
Joseph H. Webster: New DOJ Position on Internet Gaming Creates Both Uncertainty and Opportunities for Tribes (Indian Country Today 1/3)

Also Today:
DoJ’s Internet Gaming Green Light to States is ‘No Big Deal for Tribes’ (Indian Country Today 1/2)