Industry News of the Day for January 8, 2020

iDEA Growth in the News:

iDEA Growth Member News:

  • Gambling Compliance, 1.8.20 – Tennis Integrity Improving But More Work Needed, Says Data Group (Sportradar; subscription paywall)
    • Sportradar has praised the International Tennis Federation (ITF) after it agreed to remove in-play scoring data at World Tennis Tour (WTT) $15K events and invest $8m into integrity measures to prevent match-fixing.

Industry News:

Federal News:

  • Gambling Compliance, 1.8.20 – Wire Act Appeal May Signal U.S. Attorney General Supports Online Gaming Ban (see full story below)
    • A 52-page appeal by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) challenges a federal judge’s decision supporting internet gambling, and may be the strongest evidence yet that U.S. Attorney General William Barr endorses the prohibition of mobile and online gambling.

New Jersey:

  • PlayNJ, 1.8.20 – Making Headlines: Atlantic City Casino News To Watch For In 2020
    • In the past year, there has been much talk about market saturation, mergers, and let’s not forget the Wire Act. The new decade brings with it several stories that have the ability to impact the New Jersey gambling market for years to come.




  • Associated Press, 1.8.20 – Top Issues In The 2020 Virginia Legislative Session
    • Virginia lawmakers are kicking off a 60-day legislative session with Democrats in full control for the first time in more than two decades. Gambling-related issues are set to be one of the hottest topics at the state Capitol when lawmakers return to the Richmond next month.


  • WBBM, 1.8.20 – Illinois Bets On Gambling Expansion
    • Illinois lawmakers and Gov. Pritzker have put their chips behind expanded gambling, with the landscape here changing dramatically in 2020.




  • Associated Press, 1.7.20 – Budget Looms As Key Issue As Kentucky Lawmakers Convene
    • Kentucky lawmakers convened Tuesday to begin a 60-day session that will be dominated by the challenge of passing a new two-year state budget amid competing demands and limited revenues. Among the stacks of new bills was one to legalize sports betting in Kentucky as a way to generate more tax dollars.
  • WTVQ, 1.7.20 – 2020 KY Legislative Session Begins
    • Will it be bi-partisan cooperation or gridlock in Frankfort as the 2020 legislative session begins?

Washington, D.C.:



New Hampshire:

  • Patch, 1.8.20 – Sports Bettors In NH Wager $3.44 Million In First Week Of Betting
    • Mobile and online sports betting has been met with enthusiasm in the Granite State as players have wagered more than $3.44 million since the New Hampshire Lottery and DraftKings, Inc. launched sports betting just over seven days ago on Dec. 30.



  • Gambling.Com, 1.7.20 – Delaware Sports Betting Revenue Slide Shows Need For Mobile
    • Delaware, the first state outside of Nevada to take a legal single-game sports bet is now the first state to report its average monthly handle declined from 2018 to 2019.
  • Gaming Intelligence, 1.8.20 – Delaware Sees $102.6M Wagered On Sports In 2019
    • Sports bettors in the US state of Delaware wagered $102.6m in the first full year of regulated sports betting.
  • WSN, 1.8.20 – Delaware Posts Underwhelming 2019 Totals
    • Despite the excitement around the expansion of sports betting in the United States, Delaware became the first state to show falling revenue numbers compared from one year to the next as the state’s 2019 monthly handle figures did not match the 2018 totals.

New York:


West Virginia:

Wire Act Appeal May Signal U.S. Attorney General Supports Online Gaming Ban

A 52-page appeal by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) challenges a federal judge’s decision supporting internet gambling, and may be the strongest evidence yet that U.S. Attorney

General William Barr endorses the prohibition of mobile and online gambling.

However, a former high-ranking DOJ official says the appellate brief does little to shed light on the attorney general’s views.

“The brief does not necessarily confirm that Attorney General Barr supports last year’s OLC opinion,” James Trusty, who led the DOJ’s organized crime and gang section from 2011 to 2018, told GamblingCompliance in an email.

The OLC is the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel, which ignited a firestorm on January 14, 2019 by posting an opinion concluding a federal ban on interstate sports bets also applies to other forms of gambling transmissions.

“The DOJ brief on appeal devotes almost two-thirds of the argument section to technical issues, like standing to sue and the judge’s authority to set aside an OLC opinion,” said Trusty, who joined the Ifrah law firm in Washington, D.C. after leaving the DOJ.

For example, the DOJ appeal argues online state lotteries in New Hampshire and other states are not facing an imminent threat of prosecution because the DOJ still has not concluded if federal restrictions apply to them.

The DOJ’s technical arguments do not address the more substantive issue before the appeals court, which is whether the U.S. Wire Act of 1961 outlaws internet gambling, Trusty said.

“In emphasizing technical defenses, it’s possible to see that as a signal that Attorney General Barr recognizes that the merits behind DOJ’s new Wire Act interpretation are not particularly strong,” Trusty said.

Submitted on December 20, 2019 to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston, the DOJ brief seeks to nullify a June 3, 2019 ruling by U.S. District Judge Paul J. Barbadoro of Concord, New Hampshire.

Barbadoro overturned the opinion authored in November 2018 but released in January 2019 by the OLC and ruled the Wire Act’s prohibitions on interstate gambling transmissions apply only to sports betting.

Barbadoro’s ruling essentially reinstated a previous OLC opinion in 2011 during the administration of President Barack Obama.

“In all events, the district court erred in purporting to set aside the 2018 OLC opinion,” the DOJ said in its December 20 brief.

“OLC opinions are not final agency action under the APA (Administrative Procedures Act) because they are predecisional legal advice and do not themselves determine rights or obligations or impose any legal consequences.”

Parker Mantell, a spokesman for the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG), said Judge Barbadoro’s opinion of June 3 “is neither final nor applicable outside of that state (New Hampshire).”

“Those entities relying upon that 2011 opinion in offering online casinos — including children-focused casino games that feature cartoons or are based on children’s fairy tales — do so at their own risk as they are not shielded from liability by that opinion,” Mantell said in an email to GamblingCompliance.

Barr was not yet attorney general when the OLC opinion was officially released last January 14, the day before his confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate’s Judiciary Committee.

Although Barr still has not disclosed his views on internet gambling, the fact that he did not block the DOJ appellate brief suggests he is not prepared to abandon the appeal or negotiate a settlement with the gambling industry.

Oral arguments on the DOJ appeal are expected sometime this spring in Boston.