In response to the Department of Justice’s (“DOJ”) September 20, 2011 reversal of its long held position to online gambling, there is a proposed federal law that would legalize interstate online poker. 

According to Thomas Ott’s December 30, 2012 Cleveland Plain Dealer article “for the first nine months, the proposal would put licensing authority and revenue in the hands of a few American Indian tribes or state that have an “established track record” of gaming regulation.”

On December 23, 2011, the Office of Legal Counsel of the United States Department of Justice revealed that the DOJ’s long-held position on the 1961 Federal Wire Act, 18 U.S.C. §1084 by concluding that the Wire Act prohibits only sports betting.

The DOJ had historically interpreted the Wire Act to ban all forms of Internet gambling, including sports betting and traditional casino-type games.  The DOJ noted, however, that there appeared to be a conflict between the Wire Act and a different law relating to Internet gambling, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (“UIGEA”).

Under current Ohio law it is illegal to play casino-style gaming online.  Outside of the four (4) casinos and licensed horse tracks, slot machines are illegal.  Online poker could be legal in the near future, but any other type of online gambling continues to be a violation of United States and Ohio law.

If you or someone who cares about you has any questions regarding online gambling please contact attorney Michael C. Hennenberg to schedule a consultation.