By Natasha Bach
January 15, 2019

The U.S. Justice Department now says that all internet gambling is illegal.

A November opinion made public Monday reversed a 2011 opinion on the Wire Act, which established the law as applicable to only sports betting. The DOJ claims that the 2011 opinion misinterpreted the statute and reinterprets the Wire Act to encompass all forms of gambling that crosses state boundaries.

The opinion could have wide-reaching effects in states that sell lottery tickets online or where online gambling is legal. This number has increased in recent months following the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize sports betting in the U.S. last year.

GOP megadonor and casino mogul Sheldon Adelson backed a coalition that had long lobbied the Justice Department to reconsider its 2011 decision. While the precise effects of the change are unclear, lobbyists told The Washington Post that it could affect interstate compacts and lotteries.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is expected to issue a memo Tuesday telling prosecutors to hold off on implementing the new opinion for 90 days to allow companies and individuals to adjust accordingly.

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