Attorney General Morrisey Leads Bipartisan Coalition To Protect State Lotteries

Updated 16 weeks ago From a News Release by WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey
CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey led a group of 25 attorneys general in expressing concern over a sweeping legal opinion that may negatively impact state-run and multi-state lotteries, including Mega Millions and Powerball.

 
The letter, sent late Thursday to U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, argues the federal government’s new legal opinion could reach beyond the realms of sports gambling and into areas traditionally controlled by the states, potentially jeopardizing in-state lotteries.
 
“The loss of these programs would have devastating consequences for our States,” Attorney General Morrisey led the coalition in writing. “State-run and multi-state lotteries are a consistent source of state revenue, representing many billions of dollars in annual funding used to fund vital state services such as schools and other educational initiatives, services for senior citizens, and infrastructure projects.”
 
The bipartisan letter contends the new opinion could call into question interstate transmissions related to all bets or wagers, even where fully authorized under relevant state law. That reality, combined with the increasingly interstate nature of internet and cellular transmissions, may mean conduct that was long understood to be legal, now invites exposure to severe criminal penalties.
 
The new interpretation reversed the U.S. Department of Justice’s prior, 2011 legal opinion, which prohibited only interstate transmission of information regarding sporting events or contests.
 
The coalition’s letter seeks a meeting with Attorney General Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein. It also asks for an extension of Rosenstein’s initial 90-day compliance window for an additional 90 days, until or beyond Aug. 13.
 
An extension would provide time for states to meet with the Justice Department and their vendors to enhance each state’s ability to safeguard state services and its citizens.
 
The West Virginia-led letter received support from attorneys general in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
 
Read a copy of the letter at http://bit.ly/2HRSlS9.
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