The future looks definitely better in 2021 for online poker in the US. The legal battle in connection to the most recent interpretation of the Wire Act has made significant progress with the latest ruling going against the Department of Justice (DOJ), giving the state of New Hampshire its second straight court victory.
The First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the 2011 Wire Act opinion, stating that it only applies to sports betting, and therefore online lotteries, as well as interstate online poker, are beyond its scope.
A similar ruling was handed down by a US District Court judge in New Hampshire back in June 2019.
In January 2019, the DOJ, under the Trump administration, released its revised opinion on the Wire Act, concluding that the law covered all forms of online gambling, not just sports betting. It was challenged by the state of New Hampshire as the latest interpretation would potentially criminalize online lottery operations, and all other forms of interstate gaming.
While the DOJ can still launch a final appeal to the US Supreme Court, as suggested by US District Court Judge Paul Barbadoro when he gave the first ruling in favor of New Hampshire, it’s highly unlikely that the matter will even be brought to the country’s highest court.
First of all, newly-inaugurated U.S. President Joe Biden is opposed to the latest Wire Act opinion. This means there’s a high chance that his administration will ultimately reinstate the 2011 interpretation, which was released during his term as Vice President to Barack Obama.
More States Expected to Legalize Online Poker
These latest developments only point to one thing – online poker will flourish in the US going forward, with more states potentially legalizing the game in the months ahead. Furthermore, they can now take part in the existing shared liquidity agreement without having to worry about legal repercussions.
Michigan, the latest state to legalize online poker, already approved legislation allowing it to enter into multi-state agreements. Pennsylvania will likely follow suit. This could set a precedent for other jurisdictions looking to launch their own regulated online poker market.
While nationwide legalization is still not possible at the moment, online poker supporters can take comfort in the fact that the campaign is stepping up, with some of their biggest and worst enemies, including billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, now gone.