Attorney General Barr, as reported by Kevin Landrigan at the Union Leader, has decided to appeal a federal court decision (New Hampshire Lottery Comm’n v. Barr, Case No. 19-cv-163-PB (D.N.H. 2019)) that could ultimately “blow a $100m hole in lottery revenue.”
In 2011, the Office of Legal Counsel released a memorandum stating that the Wire Act only related to sporting events and contents, meaning state lotteries could sell tickets online without being afoul of the law. In November 2018, the new Attorney General decided to reverse that, re-applying the Wire Act to all forms of electronic gambling. The New Hampshire Lottery Commission rightly sued the Attorney General, hoping to get that decision set aside. New Hampshire won.
The New Hampshire Lottery website touts our lottery as the First In The Nation, beginning in 1964, and has contributed over $2B to public education since it’s inception. Just last session, Governor Sununu and the republican majorities approved full-day kindergarten with the expansion of the lottery program to include Keno, in towns that approve Keno gambling within their municipality.
Now, its 2019. Everybody shops online. Selling lottery online seems like a no-brainer. Pursuant to the “Terms & Conditions” posted on NHLottery.com, you must be a US Person (as defined by federal law,) and be inside the state of New Hampshire while depositing into your lottery account or purchasing lottery tickets.
The lower court judge, Barbadoro, predicted this case will go all the way to the Supreme Court, the same court that ruled last year that betting on sports was not illegal. Perhaps this case will go all the way, and the Supreme Court will again strike down an unconstitutional law, perhaps in its totality, granting us the ability to gamble online as we please, as free people ought to be able to do.
This all begs the question, why AG Barr would appeal this decision and send this case up to the First Circuit Court of Appeals? Normally, I’m not big into the “4D MAGA MAGA Chess” Game, but since President Trump DID just get Planned Parenthood to DEFUND ITSELF, in a workaround for Congress being unable to act on anything, and his other mentionable and remarkable feats, could this long game be the administration pushing reverse judicial activism? Could this all be a ploy to get the courts to dismantle or restrict laws they don’t like? We’ll see!