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Last November, US Justice Department officials, having reviewed the nation's laws, quietly concluded that, oops, interstate and international internet gambling is actually illegal. For some reason, that view was only made public on Monday. And for now, this hot take is not being enforced across the country.
Published here [PDF], the opinion was written by the DoJ's Office of Legal Counsel, and is effectively a screeching U-turn on seven years of policy. In 2011, the office concluded that 18 US Code § 1084(a), which makes it illegal to use phones and telecommunications to gamble across state lines and the border, only applied to sports betting.
Office - Conclusion - Online - Poker - Internet
Well, the office was asked to think that over again, and it's come to another conclusion: online poker and similar internet gambling dens are also verboten, not just sports betting. That means e-casinos and online poker rooms with interstate and foreign players are operating illegally, according to the office's legal eagles.
“Having been asked to reconsider, we now conclude that the statutory prohibitions are not uniformly limited to gambling on sporting events or contests,” the legal opinion reads.
Prohibition - Clause - Section - 'information - Placing
“Only the second prohibition of the first clause of section 1084(a), which criminalises transmitting 'information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest,' is so limited. The other prohibitions apply to non-sports-related betting or wagering that...
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