Since 2005 New York State has allowed residents to enter their number for Lotto or MegaMillions through an online subscription. But it has also been building a much broader and more advanced online gambling system that it was reluctant to launch over legal concerns. A recent decision by the Justice Department, however, seems to have cleared the way for states to run internet gaming operations within their own borders, and New York officials are pumped!
“We’ve been waiting for a couple years,” Gordon Medenica, the director of New York State Lottery, told The New York Times. “We’re thrilled that this ruling has now come down and confirmed that our legal analysis was correct all along.”
The new ruling from the Justice Department, which revolves around the Wire Act of 1961, runs contrary to its former position, which had banned all online gambling within the United States. The clarification only outlaws online gambling on sports, paving the way for expansions of state lottery programs on the web.
Remember it was only this past April that New York prosecutors charged Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars and Absolute Poker, three of the most popular sites on the web, with fraud and money laundering. These sites had been operating from Antigua and the Isle of Man, where online gambling is legal, but serving hundreds of thousands of U.S. customers.
Experts say that the broad nature of the language in the Justice Department’s new ruling may have opened the door for intrastate online poker. “
The interesting question is what the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate, Harry Reid (D.-NV) and Kyl, the number two Republican in the Senate, will do. They had sent a letter asking the DoJ for clarification of its position on internet gambling. “They now have their answer, though it may not have been what they had wanted,” wrote Professor Nelson Rose of GamblingAndTheLaw.com. “My bet is that they, and Congress, will continue to do nothing, while internet gambling explodes across the nation, made legal under state laws.”