Connecticut Law Review Volume 45 – Issue 2

Game On for Internet Gambling: With Federal Approval, States Line Up to Place Their Bets

With an unexpected legal memorandum, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) Office of Legal Council (“OLC”) reversed the DOJ’s decades-old interpretation of federal gaming laws.  The OLC removed the last major federal barrier to state Internet gambling: its broad interpretation of organized crime statutes, in particular the late Robert F. Kennedy’s Wire Act.  With the DOJ’s change in position, states are now free to legalize Internet gambling, from poker to lotteries, for their citizens.  In view of these changes, we expect states to quickly legalize new forms of gambling on an unprecedented scale: intrastate, interstate, and international.  This online gambling explosion may come at the expense of tribal operators who are reliant on slow federal laws that may be unable to keep pace with cash-strapped states’ appetites for legalized gambling.

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