DOJ’s Wire Act Reversal Puts Online Gaming Industry In Precarious Position

Last year, Donald Trump’s administration did everything it could to uphold the federal prohibition of sports betting. It obviously didn’t go so well.

This year, however, Trump’s bizarre anti-gambling stance is back with a vengeance. Last week, the DOJ dropped a bomb on the online gaming industry when it suddenly reversed its prior 2011 opinion that the Wire Act only applied to sports betting and now argues that the Wire Act encompasses all forms of wagering. In other words, online lotteries, interstate poker compacts, and interstate online gaming are likely over.

The new memo not only reverses the DOJ’s own 2011 opinion, but it contradicts the legislative history of the Wire Act and clashes with cases in the Fifth and First Circuits.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the DOJ’s reversal came at the request of casino magnate and Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, which presents a whole host of other problems beyond wrecking the online gaming industry.

Steve breaks down the chaotic ramifications of the DOJ’s opinion on Above the Law, which you can read here.

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The Legal Blitz Goes Back To School

Apologies for the long hiatus, but it has been a wild post-PASPA summer.

In the aftermath of Murphy v. NCAA, Steve has tried to keep pace with the rapid developments in the sports betting world with New Jersey, Delaware, Mississippi, and West Virginia launching sports books in time for football season. You can catch Steve’s appearance on “Closer Look with Rose Scott” on WABE here.  Steve also recently published a blog about how employers can handle sports betting in the workplace here. And last but not least, Steve was the first guest on Temple Law Review’s Parliament Podcast where he discussed the future of sports betting.

But the major news to announce is that Steve is going back to school AS A PROFESSOR teaching a class on sports betting and daily fantasy sports. Just an adjunct and it is pass/fail. But still, how many of you wished you had this class when you were in school? If you are interested in the syllabus or the course materials, feel free to contact us. Many thanks to the University of Maine Law School for having the foresight, trust, and vision to make this a reality.

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SCOTUS Sports Betting Decision Round Up

After the U.S. Supreme Court dropped a bomb on the sports world on May 14 by declaring the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) unconstitutional, Legal Blitz co-founder Steve Silver went into overdrive to lend his analysis to several media outlets.

Bloomberg Law interviewed Steve for a piece on how the decision will impact blockchain technologies here. Then Steve wrote a quick look at the major takeaways of the Court’s ruling for Vice Sports here. He finished the week by taking a deep dive into the legal weeds for Above the Law here.

This is only the beginning of the new post-PASPA world and we will post updates on Steve’s media appearances as they occur.

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The Truth About Sports Betting Integrity Fees

The anxiously-awaited SCOTUS sports betting decision could arrive as early as March 19, but likely no later than June. If my prior predictions are correct, PASPA is dead and states will be free to join Nevada in offering legal sports betting.

Apparently the professional sports leagues, MLB and NBA in particular, are not feeling so hot about their chances. Sensing a loss at the Supreme Court, the leagues are now going around state to state trying to lobby for “integrity fees” aka a cut of the action. It is a transparent money grab.

But as I recently analyzed for Above the Law, cutting the leagues in via integrity fees will actually harm the integrity of the games that the leagues claim they are protecting by keeping business offshore. You can read my full take here.

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The Speaking Circuit Begins

For all the East Coast sports law enthusiasts out there, you can check out Legal Blitz Co-Founder Steve Silver in New York City next month at the Sixth Annual Cardozo Sports Law Symposium on March 16, 2018. Silver will appear on a panel called “Sports, Free Speech and the First Amendment” with Scooby Axson, Writer at Sports Illustrated & US Army Veteran; Mark Conrad, Director of the Sports Business Program at Fordham & Sports Author; and Elie Mystal, Executive Editor for Above the Law.

There are 4.5 CLE credits available with other panels on “The Complex Relationship between the NCAA and NBA” and “The Future of Sports in the Age of Virtual Reality.” You can register here.

If you can make it, be sure to say hello.

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The Fate of PASPA Is Now In The Supreme Court’s Hands

After six years of litigation and three lower-court losses, the U.S. Supreme Court finally heard New Jersey’s request to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PASPA”) last week. Know as “the sports betting” case, Christie v. NCAA could dramatically change how Americans consume and wager on sports while also resulting in monumental commandeering and constitutional rulings from the nation’s highest court.

This is a case I have written extensively about for the past few years and even handicapped this summer. I still believe my 6-3 prediction will hold true, but now that argument has taken place, you can decide for yourselves. The Court will likely issue its ruling early this summer.

Here is the transcript of the arguments as well as the actual audio. Take an hour and enjoy. It is well worth it.

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Why is it illegal to play online poker in the US?

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Poker is one of the most popular online games in the world. So, why is it not legal to play the game online in the US? The truth is that playing poker online is only actually illegal in Washington state. However, the overall truth is more complicated than that.

As far back as 1961, the Interstate Wire Act made it illegal for people to use wire transfers to gamble online. This law was used by the US Justice Department in 2005, to threaten companies such as Google with legal action, regarding the availability of online gaming advertising. The situation was clarified in 2011, when the Justice Department declared that the Wire Act only applied to online sports betting. So, the legislation did not affect online poker activity.

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Handicapping the Supreme Court Votes on Sports Betting

It is the first Monday in October, which means the Supreme Court is back in session.

This term will feature several major cases, but for sports fans there is no case more significant than what most are calling the sports betting case. It is really two cases now consolidated as one: Christie v. NCAA and New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association v. NCAA.

At its most basic level, the case is about whether or not PASPA is unconstitutional. So will we have legalized sports betting? I handicapped the nine Supreme Court justice recently on Vice Sports to predict how they might vote on this weighty issue. I think by this time next year we’ll have sports books in at least a dozen states. Go ahead and take my picks to the bank.

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Transforming Into A Sports Law Expert For 104.9 The Horn

Legal Blitz Co-Founder Steve Silver recently joined Trey Elling and Brad Kellner on The Horn 104.9 FM in Austin, Texas to discuss a wild summer of sports law issues including the Supreme Court taking the sports betting case, OJ receiving parole, Hugh Freeze getting caught with his hand in the escort cookie jar, and Chris Spielman’s lawsuit against Ohio State.

Silver recently attempted to handicap how the nine Supreme Court justices will rule as to whether or not to strike down PASPA and pave the way for legal sports betting. It was his last piece for the now shuttered Vice Sports.

You can listen to Silver’s full interview here: Silver Interview on The Horn

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Legal Blitz Founder Named Super Lawyers Rising Star

The Legal Blitz is thrilled to announce that one of its founders, Steve Silver, is now a 2017 Super Lawyers Rising Star. Silver earned Rising Star honors for civil litigation defense in Pennsylvania.

A program of Thomson Reuters, Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers who, through a peer review and independent research process, have been identified as attaining a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

Only the top 5 percent of Pennsylvania’s 50,000 lawyers and the top 2.5 percent of up-and-coming Pennsylvania lawyers are named to the Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists, respectively.

Candidates are evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement, including verdicts and settlements; honors and awards; special licenses and certifications; pro bono and community service efforts; and scholarly lectures and writings. The ultimate objective of Super Lawyers is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse list of outstanding attorneys that can be used as a resource for other practitioners and consumers searching for legal counsel.

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