November 25, 2021 Legal

IGT sues DoJ over Wire Act dispute

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The supplier is seeking confirmation over whether it can run online lotteries and other platforms without the risk of prosecution.

International Game Technology, one of gaming’s most popular suppliers, is suing the US Department of Justice over a 2018 legal reading that the company could be made to make “the choice of either fundamentally restructuring (or closing) its business, or risking a federal felony prosecution.”

Specifically, the supplier is seeking confirmation on whether is non-lottery operations, such as iGaming and sports betting, could fall under the purview of 1961’s Wire Act. 

For the uninitiated, the Wire Act, signed in 1961, outlawed all interstate wagering or information passed on wagers between state lines. Mainly aimed at preventing match-fixing and collusion, operators and suppliers still fear it could affect their business to this day. 

A decade ago, the DoJ argued the Wire Act only applies sports betting. In 2018, however, it revised its outlook, now seeing it as applied to all forms of gambling.

In its legal statement, IGT noted: “virtually all modern lottery and gaming relies on interstate wires.”

Unsurprisingly, this is not the first time the Wire Act has been called into question. In 2019, the state of New Hampshire filed a similar suit, with courts taking the side of the Granite State.

When Gaming America reached out to IGT for comment, the supplier reaffirmed this decision: "IGT supports the District Court of New Hampshire’s ruling (recently upheld by the First Circuit Court of Appeals) that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting and not to other forms of gaming."

IGT, which is based in Rhode Island, filed its lawsuit in the state’s US District Court. The supplier is present in over 100 countries, employing approximately 11,000 people. 

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