American lottery and gaming machines innovator International Game Technology (IGT) has reportedly filed a federal lawsuit against the United States Department of Justice concerning perceived ambiguities in the Interstate Wire Act.
According to a report from Providence Business News, the multinational firm filed the 18-page complaint with the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island on Tuesday in hopes of obtaining a declaratory judgment on whether it may now legally process gambling-related transactions across state lines electronically.
The fresh lawsuit from IGT and its IGT Global Solutions Corporation subsidiary also reportedly names United States Attorney General Merrick Garland (pictured) as a defendant and was prompted by a 2018 ruling on behalf of the state of New Hampshire that the Interstate Wire Act applied broadly to all forms of gambling and not just sportsbetting. This decision was purportedly embraced by former United States Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as federal policy although he later advised law enforcement services to take no action on state lotteries until his office issued further guidance.
However, the legal action from IGT reportedly contends that this hoped-for direction never materialized meaning that its lottery operations potentially remain under threat from the New Hampshire decision. The giant company’s complaint purportedly moreover alleges that this danger runs to multi-state jackpot games such as MegaMillions and Powerball in addition to the numerous iLottery services it provides to punters in the states of Georgia, Rhode Island and Kentucky.
Reportedly reads the IGT lawsuit…
“IGT has standing to bring this action because it uses wire communication facilities for the interstate transmission of non-sports bets and wagers and therefore faces an imminent threat of prosecution.”
On top of all this and IGT reportedly declared that it is furthermore concerned about the legality of the online gaming products it supplies iGaming operators in the states of New Jersey, Michigan and Pennsylvania. These innovations, which run to such entertainment as virtual roulette and blackjack games alongside video slots, are purportedly only currently legal in six states additionally encompassing Delaware, West Virginia and Nevada but could soon be made available to punters in many more jurisdictions following the passage of appropriate local legislation.
The lawsuit from IGT reportedly reads…
“iGaming necessarily uses a channel of interstate commerce, the Internet, even though IGT has invested in state-of-the-art technology to ensure that the bettor is physically present in the state where the lottery or casino game is offered. As an outgrowth of its land-based gaming properties, IGT enables its gaming partners to offer popular casino games over the Internet to players’ computers or mobile devices.”
IGT reportedly noted that unease regarding the current jurisdiction of the Interstate Wire Act is a serious matter as it employs approximately 5,450 people across the United States including some 1,000 in Rhode Island alone. The company’s lawsuit purportedly asserted that it without some sort of clarification it is facing the stark choice of ‘either fundamentally restructuring or closing its business’ or potentially facing ‘a federal felony prosecution.’
The IGT lawsuit reportedly concluded…
“Based on this severe and present hardship, IGT requests a declaratory judgment that the 2018 opinion is contrary to law and that the Interstate Wire Act applies only to ‘bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest’.”