US Online Poker Legalization Should Move Forward With New President Joe Biden
Joe Biden‘s victory offers a beacon of hope for online poker in the US. For one thing, the newly-elected President is a Democrat. Over the years, the Democratic Party has been pushing for the creation of a regulated online gaming market across the country.
In fact, one of the major breakthroughs in the legalization of online gaming in the US took place in 2011, when the Department of Justice under the Obama administration issued a legal opinion concluding that the Wire Act only applied to sports betting.
This allowed states to launch their respective regulated iGaming markets, which have become a major revenue stream for those jurisdictions.
Despite that huge legal milestone, nationwide legalization has been an uphill battle, with prominent entities blocking every attempt to finally create a regulated environment for online gaming in the country. One of them was casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who in the last 10 years, had fought really hard to ban online gambling all at once.
The election of Donald Trump to the US Presidency gave the Las Vegas Sands founder a significant edge in his long fight against internet gambling. The biggest development came in 2019 when the DOJ reversed the Wire Act Opinion, stating that it also applies to other forms of interstate gambling, apart from sports betting, putting online lotteries and online poker operations in jeopardy.
Adelson passed away on Jan 11, 2021. Trump was refused another term as US President; Biden is set to take office this week as the country’s new leader — these latest developments mean there’s a brighter future ahead for US online poker.
Biden Could Reinstate 2011 Wire Act Opinion
Experts now believe that Biden’s administration could push for a reversal of the latest Wire Act interpretation. This will most likely be on the agenda of the new President-elect as he earlier expressed his opposition to the revised opinion.
The issue has become the subject of a legal battle between the DOJ and the state of New Hampshire. The initial decision went against the DOJ but it has launched an appeal.
If the most recent interpretation stands, interstate online poker will be put at risk. The ongoing shared liquidity agreement between New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware could be terminated as local residents would not be allowed to play with other players outside the state.
Now, under Biden’s administration, the DOJ appeal could be dropped, reinstating the 2011 interpretation. Meaning it would be business as usual for online poker, and more states can now proceed with their legalization efforts.
Michigan and Pennsylvania, the latest states to legalize online poker, may now join the existing interstate agreement, which is a massive victory for everyone in the online poker industry.