WHETHER PROPOSALS BY ILLINOIS AND NEW YORK TO USE THE INTERNET AND OUT-OF-STATE TRANSACTION PROCESSORS TO SELL LOTTERY TICKETS TO IN-STATE ADULTS VIOLATE THE WIRE ACT

DOJ State Lotteries Memorandum of Opinion re Wire Act

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Interstate transmissions of wire communications that do not relate to a “sporting event or contest” fall outside the reach of the Wire Act. Because the proposed New York and Illinois lottery proposals do not involve wagering on sporting events or contests, the Wire Act does not prohibit them. Having considered the Criminal Division’s views, as well as letters from New York and Illinois to the Criminal Division that were attached to your opinion request,1 we conclude that interstate transmissions of wire communications that do not relate to a “sporting event or contest,” 18 U.S.C. § 1084(a), fall outside of the reach of the Wire Act. Because the proposed New York and Illinois lottery proposals do not involve wagering on sporting events or contests,the Wire Act does not, in our view, prohibit them. Given this conclusion, we have not found it necessary to address the Wire Act’s interaction with UIGEA, or to analyze UIGEA in any other respect.

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