Several US states including California are now taking a more serious look at launching online sales of lottery tickets after a recent ruling by the US Department of Justice clarified that the Wire Act only applies to wagers on sporting events.
In a legal opinion released by Assistant US Attorney General Virginia Seitz just before Christmas, the Department of Justice revealed that the Wire Act of 1961 only applies to sportsbetting and not to other forms of online gambling that states might conduct on an intra-state basis for residents.
That has opened the door for many US states to take a closer look at not just selling lottery tickets online but also possibly launching their own online casino and poker sites for state residents, as none of those activities fall underneath the scope of the Wire Act as now defined by the Department of Justice (which in the past had considered any form of online gambling or wagering to be in violation of the Wire Act).
California state lottery officials are reportedly mulling over beginning the process of studying offering online lottery ticket sales. The New York and Illinois state lotteries had petitioned the Department of Justice to clarify its position on online lottery sales, with those two states also likely to consider adding the option as well in the future.
“It does open up a major potential channel for lottery sales in California but right now its just a potential channel,” Robert ONeill, the Director for the California State Lottery told the Los Angeles Times newspaper in a recent statement.
Many US states suffering from the lingering recession are considering a wide range of gambling options, including states such as Massachusetts and New York that may launch their first brick-and-mortar casinos in coming years to others with existing casinos that are looking to expand their operations or to explore offering online gambling sites.
Effective Date: January 4th 2012.
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