From Judicial Watch:
Judicial Watch is investigating yet another Obama Justice Department scandal this time involving the reversal of a law passed by Congress decades ago banning all forms of online gambling, a move that allowed companies—and big Democratic Party donors—with connections to Attorney General Eric Holder to amass huge profits.
It involves the Wire Act, enacted by Congress in 1961 as an antiracketeering measure to prohibit the use of wire communications for the interstate transfer of bets or wagers. When the internet came around years later the law was naturally applied to online gambling and U.S. courts, as well as the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) own criminal division, agreed with the application in the absence of legislation specifically aimed at internet gambling.
“Until recently the DOJ went after offshore-based online poker companies operating in the U.S.”
In fact, up until recently the DOJ went after offshore-based online poker companies operating in the U.S. The feds slammed them with serious criminal charges like wire fraud, money laundering and bank fraud. The agency’s cases were strengthened thanks to a 2006 measure Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) passed by Congress to go after online gambling firms in the U.S. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which operates under the DOJ, even issued a warning reminding that it’s illegal to gamble online in the United States. That means no cyber bets on sporting events or in virtual card games; no transferring money electronically for gambling and no wagers in offshore internet casinos if you live in the U.S., according to the FBI bulletin.
A few years later the Holder DOJ quietly reversed key parts of the Wire Act of 1961 at the request of two states—Illinois and New York—seeking to sell lottery tickets online. In its legal opinion the DOJ found that the Wire Act only prohibited wagers on sporting events or contests, lifting a long-standing federal ban on internet bets placed on non-sporting events. This applies to poker and slots, the very industries the DOJ was indicting years earlier. The reversal also contradicts the 2006 law (UIGEA) passed by Congress and allows states to decide if they want to offer online gambling.