Wire Act enforcement postponed until 2020

DOJ is 'evaluating its options' writes Deputy Attorney General Rosen

Just one day before the deadline was due to expire, the US Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen has released a memo informing law enforcement staff working under the DOJ that they will not seek to enforce their recently revised interpretation of the Wire Act until 2020.

This will be the second time that the DOJ has extended the period of grace for operators, having initially offered an April 15th deadline before pushing it back to June 14th.

The letter, from new Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, extends the forbearance period to December 31, 2019, or 60 days after the final judgement in New Hampshire’s legal challenge against the new opinion, whichever is later. The DOJ has not yet confirmed whether it will choose to challenge the ruling issued earlier this month, which sided with the state and rejected the DOJ’s opinion. The memo noted that the department is ‘evaluating its options’.

“Providing this extension of the forbearance period is an internal exercise of prosecutorial discretion and does not create a safe harbor for violations of the Wire Act,” wrote Rosen.

The news that the DOJ had reversed their opinion originally caused waves back in January, specifically because all forms of gambling are now affected.  The act is considered by many to be legally unstable and has called into question the legality of intrastate online gambling and lottery operations that temporarily reroute data in the course of their transactions, along with the payment processing that allows these sites to conduct business with gambling customers.

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