New Jersey, Pennsylvania oppose Justice Department's reversal for online gambling

By Marian Johns | Feb 12, 2019

TRENTON — New Jersey Attorney General Gubir Grewal is opposing a recent opinion issued by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that reverses the department's nearly decade-old opinion of applying federal criminal law to state-sanctioned online gambling and is investigating the suspected role of lobbying efforts in the DOJ reversal. 

Grewal and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro have sent a letter to acting U.S. attorney general Matthew Whitaker arguing the departmenmt's reversal regarding online gambling will have a drastic impact on their states' economies, families and businesses. According to Grewal's office, online gaming generates more than $350 million in revenue for New Jersey, with $60 million generated from direct gaming taxes that are vital to the state and to Atlantic City.

“This unexpected opinion from the U.S. Department of Justice not only jeopardizes the future of our casinos and gaming industry but also threatens the jobs of thousands of New Jerseyans," New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement.  "I am pleased to see Attorney General Grewal is committed to challenging the Justice Department’s unreasonable interpretation of the [Federal] Wire Act.”

 “The Justice Department’s latest action is wrong on the law and wrong for New Jersey,” Grewal added.  “For five years, our gaming industry and our regulators have relied on the Justice Department’s promises to develop a strong online gaming industry that generates hundreds of millions of dollars, and is key to Atlantic City’s vitality.

"With the stroke of a pen, the Justice Department is trying to take that all away. I’m committed to standing up for New Jersey and challenging this misguided opinion.” 

Grewal has also filed a Freedom of Information Request (FOIA) to obtain records pertaining to DOJ's new opinion after media reports surfaced linking Sheldon Adelson, a large Republican donor and Las Vegas Sans Corporation's founder and CEO, as well as lobbyists to the DOJ change. 

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New Jersey Attorney General's Office Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General

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