New Hampshire Threatens Lawsuit Over Wire Act Reversal
The New Hampshire Lottery could lose at least $5 million in profits per year following a reversal on the Wire Act guidance that could impact online lotteries.
The US Department of Justice had earlier said that the Wire Act only applied to interstate sports betting. But last month, it released a new guidance and expanded the law to all forms of interstate gaming.
The new opinion received widespread condemnation from lottery executives across the country, with NH Lottery Executive Director Charles McIntyre saying the ruling could mean that buying New Hampshire lottery tickets online would now be illegal. New Hampshire is among six states to introduce online lottery products. The reversal could potentially result in massive losses for the state of between $4 million and $6 million this year, and up to $8 million in 2020.
Revenue coming from the state lottery helps fund schools in the state. This revenue is on the increase every month, with profitability now standing at over $300,000 per month. The new interpretation of the law threatens this income and has resulted in New Hampshire officials threatening legal action to prevent potential losses.
The North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries have been vocal in criticizing the recent opinion, saying it is bad for the industry. In a statement issued last week, the organization said the reversal is a huge blow to the lottery industry and could significantly impact other traditional lottery games and retail-based draw offered over the web. Furthermore, it puts at risk huge sums of money that directly go towards good causes.
New Hampshire and a number of other states chose to legalize online ticket purchases as the Obama administration allowed this to take place in 2011. it. But the latest development is troubling and poses a serious threat to a major revenue source.
Lottery experts state that if state officials are keen on pursuing a lawsuit against the new opinion, New Hampshire is the perfect place to do it.
CISG Welcomes Reversal
Meanwhile, the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CISG), a group funded by Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson, has welcomed the latest ruling, saying it serves as a victory for parents, children, and at-risk individuals. Adelson is a close friend and supporter of President Trump. He has long been lobbying the Congress to prohibit online gambling.