Last Monday, the state of New Hampshire won the legal challenge against the US Department of Justice’s revises opinion of the 1961 Wire Act. Paul Barbadoro, the federal judge who presided over the case, ruled that the Wire Act applies only to sports betting and not all forms of online gambling as stipulated by the recent DOJ reinterpretation of the law.
The ruling by the federal court is great news for a number of states where online gambling is legal and regulated. Pennsylvanian gambling operators, for instance, are on the verge of unveiling their legal online gambling offerings and now that the pressure has been lifted, they can concentrate on other things. Furthermore, the plans to have the Keystone State’s operators join share players pools may be back on track. Other states that backed the lawsuit include New Jersey and Michigan.
The lawsuit was filed by the New Hampshire Lottery Commission which uses NeoPollard Interactive, a vendor whose servers are located in Vermont and Ohio. In the lawsuit, the commission pointed out that the broader interpretation of the Wire Act would lead all of its commissions to be deemed as illegal or criminal activity. Furthermore, the state had a lot to lose since the online lottery operations that would be done away with currently accounts for more than $90 million in revenue annually.
Despite the win, there is still a lot of opposition from some anti-online gambling groups including the National Association of Convenience Stores and the Coalition to Stop Gambling that have now joined forces to advance their lobbyist agenda. While the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) is hell-bent on protecting the land-based casino industry, the National Association of Convenience Stores seeks to stop the sale of Lottery tickets online.
Apple Updates App Store Policy
While the Keystone State celebrates the federal court ruling on the Wire Act interpretation, its licensed online gambling operators have something else to deal with. Tech giant Apple has recently updated its App Store Review Guidelines and the new language now states that HTML 5 games “distributed in apps may not provide access to real money gaming, lotteries, or charitable donations.”
This means that online gambling operators in Pennsylvania and any other part of the country will be required to develop native iOS apps. While this is going to be great development especially for players since native iOS apps load faster and offer more functionality, it will not be an easy task for certain online gambling operators simply because developing these apps takes longer and costs more.
Fortunately, Apple has given a three-month grace period to the gambling operators and since Pennsylvanian online and mobile casinos are yet to go live, they may have just enough time to adjust appropriately.