Welcome back from the holidays. It’s not often I manage to start a blog with a title promising an update on gambling laws and really have news that’s going to knock this one out of the park. I don’t know if you’ve been keeping an eye on MSNBC, but interesting things happened while we were all out on vacation. Now, you probably know about the UIGEA. That’s the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act that gamblers and online casinos have been worried about all year. Now take a moment and read the title of that act. It doesn’t say “online gambling is illegal act.” Nope, it says that the law has to be enforced where internet gambling is illegal. And we know online gambling is illegal in the US. Or is it?
See, here’s an interesting thing about the Department of Justice. Give them a law to enforce, and they’ll actually take time to study it. Take the UIGEA and the Wire Act of 1961. Now the Wire Act of 1961 is what everyone thought made online gambling illegal. But the way the act was worded, it applied to sporting events and contests. The Department of Justice had to decide did that mean making distance bets on sporting events and distance bets on contests. Or did it mean bets on sporting events and sporting contests. See the difference? This is where the legal system could just use a good English teacher. The act is vaguely worded. So is the UIGEA. Which leaves room for interpretation.
And the DOJ has decided that the Wire Act of 1961 applies only to sporting events and sporting contests. Which means the state of online gambling in the US is in a bit of limbo and some states are rushing to make their own laws since we seem to have lost the federal law against online gambling. Nevada is in the process of establishing online poker. California has said it will pursue putting the state lottery online. And 2012 will be an interesting year.