Scott Andress, partner in the Jackson office and chair of the Gaming Practice, recently discussed the implications of the Wire Act litigation appeal expiration with Pokerfuse.com.
Scott specifically addressed the lingering uncertainty over the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) official position on the Wire Act moving forward.
In 2011, the Obama-era DOJ issued an OLC opinion that the Wire Act applied only to sports betting—effectively making interstate gambling legal in the U.S. for the first time.
However, in 2018 during the Trump administration, the DOJ revered its stance, issuing an OLC opinion that the Wire Act’s prohibition applies to all forms of gambling. Thus, any form of gambling utilizing the internet would be illegal.
Litigation ensued, and an opinion that the Wire Act applies only to sports betting was upheld by the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals in January. Although the Government did not further appeal, the current DOJ remains silent as to its position going forward.
Scott stated in the article, “States will continue to hesitate to embrace expansion of the online gaming industry without any clear indication by the Biden DOJ [on] reinstating or reaffirming the Obama OLC’s opinion.”
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Scott possesses extensive experience as a corporate and transactional attorney, with a focus on gaming law. Since the infancy of the Mississippi gaming industry, he has represented its interests, counseling clients in areas of permitting and approvals, regulatory compliance, transactional and lending matters, and site legality and patron dispute litigation. His work has garnered respect among gaming regulatory agencies, and he has served on the Board of Trustees of the International Association of Gaming Advisors. Scott is also skilled in general corporate and transactional work, including business organization, corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, debt and equity financing transactions, and commercial real estate. In all matters, Scott is highly responsive and attuned to the needs of clients, always striving to deliver holistic solutions.