Wire Act Decision Opens WSOP Online Events to New Jersey

Wire Act Decision Opens WSOP Online Events to New Jersey

Last week, the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire brought good news for the US online poker market – for what a few states have built thus far and the future of online poker in America in general.

The decision by District Court Judge Paul Barbadoro came down on the side of the online gaming industry, including lotteries and other forms of online gaming, as he ruled that the Wire Act pertains only to sports betting. He affirmed the 2011 Department of Justice legal opinion to that effect, which opened the online poker and gaming market in the US.

And with that ruling, the World Series of Poker announced that it will again open all of its 2019 WSOP online bracelet events this summer to players in New Jersey as well as in Nevada.

Until now, the availability of the majority of those events was doubtful, as the DOJ was prepared to put its latest opinion regarding the Wire Act into effect, and that would have prohibited interstate online poker after June 14. But the reversal of that DOJ opinion by way of the US District Court ruling allows online poker operators to continue as usual.

Pokerfuse confirmed that the WSOP will, in fact, be welcoming players from New Jersey and Nevada to its online events throughout the summer series.

Online Poker Lives to Play Another Hand

The situation for online poker in America had been complicated by the 2018 opinion written by the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel, the one published in January 2019.

Essentially, that DOJ opinion reversed the one made in 2011 that interpreted the Wire Act as pertaining only to sports betting. In 2011, the DOJ allowed states to legalize and regulate online lotteries, online casino games, and internet poker, but the latest interpretation – widely believed to have been influenced by anti-online gambling billionaire Sheldon Adelson – muddied the waters yet again.

Upon its publication in January, the DOJ decision was not well received. In fact, states and lottery entities lined up to sue the US Justice Department. The New Hampshire Lottery Commission took the reins and headed to the District Court, where Barbadoro weighed both sides of the arguments about the Wire Act.

Meanwhile, then-US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein put a hold on the implementation of the new DOJ opinion, pushing its date out twice, first to give states and online gaming and lottery operators time to make adjustments to comply with the new regulations, and second to await the decision of the District Court.

That decision last week in favor of the New Hampshire Lottery Commission and its online lottery platform provider, NeoPollard, officially set aside the recent DOJ decision and ruled that the Wire Act does not apply to online lotteries, casino games, and poker.

Jersey Can Join

The WSOP had been cautious as it awaited the District Court decision.

In order not to violate the DOJ’s most recent opinion, World Series of Poker officials decided to only keep its first two online bracelet events open to New Jersey players. Both of those were scheduled before June 14, the deadline set by Rosenstein.

However, after Judge Barbadoro overturned that DOJ decision, the WSOP felt it could proceed as usual.

Pokerfuse reached out to WSOP VP of Corporate Communications Seth Palansky, who said, “Barring something unforeseen, we plan on continuing with shared liquidity between Nevada and New Jersey for the remaining eight WSOP gold bracelet events between now and July 14.”

With that, the remainder of the online poker bracelet events will be open to players in both states. Only one bracelet event has been played thus far, and eight more remain (one of them set for tomorrow).

June 9:  $600 PLO 6-Handed (unlimited reentries, 15K chips, late reg until 7:15pm)

June 16:  $600 NLHE KO Bounty (no reentries, 20K chips, late reg until 7:15pm)

June 19:  $500 NLHE Turbo Deepstack (3x reentries, 40K chips, late reg until 6:30pm)

June 23:  $1K NLHE Double Stack (3x reentries, 30K chips, late reg until 7:30pm)

June 30:  $1K NLHE Championship (3x reentries, 15K chips, late reg until 7:30pm)

July 3:  $3,200 NLHE High Roller (3x reentries, 25K chips, late reg until 7:30pm)

July 7:  $800 NLHE 6-Handed (3x reentries, 15K chips, late reg until 7:30pm)

July 14:  $500 NLHE Summer Saver (3x reentries, 20K chips, late reg until 7:15pm)



About Jennifer Newell

Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including PokerStars.com and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

Disclaimer: The information on this site is my interpretation of the laws as made available online. It is in no way meant to serve as legal advice or instruction. We recommend that you seek legal advice from a licensed attorney for further or official guidance.

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