Appellate Court Rules in Favor of Online Poker Legislation

The long struggle for online poker in the US is finally starting to get some positive results. A case against the US government has been active since 2018 after the Donald Trump administration reversed the ruling of the DOJ during Barrack Obama’s administration. The just-concluded case against the US saw New Hampshire record its second consecutive court victory on the matter. It was made known by Jeff Ifrah, a lawyer in the case. The decision given by the First Circuit Court of Appeals was in favor of New Hampshire, stating that interstate online poker does not violate US law based on the content of the Wire Act, which applies to sporting events and contests.

The first case was concluded in June 2019 following the ruling of US District Judge Paul Barbadoro, which saw New Hampshire clinch its first victory in a US District Court. The case was filed against the government in response to the 2018 memo that changed the DOJ’s stand on the issue. The final destination for the DOJ is the Supreme Court. However, it seems unlikely that the momentum for online poker will weaken any time soon. Online poker might soon have a stance in the US with the rate of growth being witnessed.

The DOJ, in 2011, first cleared the way for online gambling registration. The Wire Act, which dates back to 1961, was reviewed and was no longer applicable only to sports betting. Since then, states in the US enjoyed online poker, but it was short-lived. A complete reversal was implemented by the DOJ in 2018 under Trump’s administration which did not come as a surprise. Sheldon Adelson had long pushed for legislation that will ban online poker, and with the assumption of office by Trump, the megadonor had enough back that he needed.

The manner and timing with which the DOJ rolled out the new memo were suspicious as it was a dire time in the administration. However, New Hampshire was not having it and decided to take up the case legally. States with online poker were allowed to operate under a “stay of execution,” but new states were stopped from entering the industry. One of the US states that were affected by the memo is Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania was stopped from entering the shared player pool after launching online poker in 2019.

The Future Looks Good for Online Poker

It has been anticipated that the case will get to the Supreme Court regardless of what outcome is gotten from other courts. However, there is a possibility that the case will not be presented to the Supreme Court following the inauguration of the newly-elected democratic president, Joe Bidden. In 2018, Bidden expressed his displeasure with the 2018 memo and was vocal about his disapproval. With him in office, it is not far-fetched to expect that he will reverse the decision of the DOJ in the Trump administration. Also, Sheldon Alderson passed away early in the new year. What that means is that one of the biggest and wealthiest individuals against online gambling will not be available to challenge the ruling.

It is without a doubt that the growth of online gambling in the US will have fewer roadblocks in the new administration. We cannot wait to see how expansive things get for the industry.