US Justice Dept. Declares All Online Gambling Illegal

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The United States Department of Justice declared that all internet gambling is now illegal late Monday.

Prior to this there were many laws conflicting at a state-to-state level, including the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, and the 1961 Wire Act only being applicable to Sports Betting online in 2011.

Fortune reports that the Department of Justice now claims the aforementioned 2011 version of the Wire Act was “misinterpreted”, and now the law applies to gambling across all states borders throughout the US.

On Tuesday Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will announce a 90 day period before the law comes into effect, giving time for companies and people to adjust.

A Justice Department official spoke anonymously to The Washington Post, stating it may not be as absolute as it sounds:

“The change here will have some impact, but it doesn’t mean that large swaths of gambling that were once legal are now illegal and vice versa. Not to say that there couldn’t be some situation where this extends the reach; this is just one more tool.”

The official also stated that the department “will continue to prioritize cases against the most “egregious” offenders.” This could affect gaming due to the ongoing discussion of lootboxes- specifically if they constitute gambling or not.

So far the UK Gambling Commission has not considered lootboxes gambling, while the Belgium government declared lootboxes gambling and vowed to ban them. This in turn prompted several mobile titles using lootboxes to pull their services in the country.

In the US, the Hawaii Attorney General demanded the gaming industry self-regulated lootboxes, or that the law would have to step in and legislate it.

What do you all think? Are lootboxes akin to online gambling? Do you agree with the decision to ban all online gambling in the US? Sound off in the comments below!


Ryan was a former Niche Gamer contributor.

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