The uncertainty surrounding the future of online poker in the United States remains for the foreseeable futures thanks to the recent 1961 Wire Act opinion reversal by the United States Department of Justice. Initially, the DOJ set the deadline for compliance with the revised opinion to April 15 but this has recently changed with the department now requiring all of the online gaming operators to tweak adjust appropriately by June 14 in order to be in compliance with the new law.
Unfortunately, even though the 60-day extension of the buffer period for compliance was intended to give the operators more time to make necessary changes to their operational frameworks, it has instead only added the murkiness of the situation. Since the DOJ declared that the Wire Act of 1961 not only applies to sports betting but other forms of online gambling as well, there has been a lot of confusion mostly due to varying opinions on the issue.
So far, the DOJ has come under attack by a number of different industry stakeholders including online gaming operators and state authorities. This was expected particularly because most of these states used the 2011 interpretation of the Wire Act to pass legislation that allowed the establishment of their online gaming industries. In fact, many of them have been poking holes on the new Wire Act opinion and they are convinced that it would not be able to stand up in court.
As it stands, not a lot has changed in New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Nevada, the four states where online gambling has been legalized. One of the most notable moves so far is an announcement by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board that required casino operators in the state to make they comply with the Wire Act opinion by having their gaming servers located within the state’s borders.
In addition to that, there is mounting concern about the World Series of Poker – the tournament’s bracelet events, nine of which are scheduled for this year, may once again be restricted to players within the border of Nevada. As such, the players on New Jersey’s version of WSOP.com are not eligible for the summer’s online gold bracelet events. Additionally, restricting the tournaments to Nevada will be bad news for players in the state as well since it will mean that there will be significantly smaller prize pools for the players.
The WSOP’s organizers are yet to give an official statement pertaining to the issue but they are reportedly evaluating their options. Hopefully, by June 14 a viable solution to this murky mess will have been fund.