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Justice Department opinion could threaten online gambling

FILE - In this Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, file photo, a game of internet slots is under way on a free-play site in Atlantic City, N.J. A legal opinion from the U.S. Department of Justice made public Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, could threaten the viability of online gambling that crosses state lines, such as poker. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry, File)
January 14, 2019 - 8:11 PM

LAS VEGAS - A legal opinion from the U.S. Department of Justice could threaten the viability of U.S. online gambling that crosses state lines.

The legal opinion that became public Monday says a federal law that prohibits interstate wagering applies to any form of gambling that crosses state lines, not just sports betting.

The opinion marks a reversal for the department, which under the Obama administration in 2011 said online gambling within states that does not involve sporting events would not violate the Wire Act.

The 2011 opinion opened the door for cash-strapped states and their lotteries to bring online gambling to their residents, as long as it did not involve interstate sports betting.

The federal law was enacted in 1961 to target the mob and its gambling activities.

Experts say the new legal opinion will likely be challenged in court.

News from © The Associated Press, 2019
The Associated Press

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