Wire Act fears delay DraftKings’ West Virginia mobile betting app
West Virginia’s sports bettors will have to wait several more weeks until they’re able to place a mobile wager with DraftKings and its local casino partner.
In late May, the West Virginia Lottery – which oversees all gaming activity in the state – said that it had successfully completed testing of DraftKings’ mobile betting app. The Lottery office suggested the app would likely soft-launch the following week. Fast forward to this week, and the state’s sports bettors are still waiting.
On Wednesday, Lottery director John Myers told the WV Metro News that the launch would be delayed “several more weeks” in order for the state to resolve some lingering issues over the location of two DraftKings’ data servers: one to process actual wagering data and the other to oversee customers’ digital wallets.
Myers said the betting server was already in place at DraftKings’ local casino partner, Penn National Gaming’s Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races. But the wallet server was currently situated in New Jersey, where DraftKings launched its first US sports betting operation last summer. DraftKings needs to “split two functions that are on that server,” and that would take time.
Myers pleaded for patience, noting that the state was “kind of learning as we go” due to the lack of legal precedent in the fledgling US legal betting environment. Myers said the state was trying to “make sure that there is not an issue or violation of the federal Wire Act,” the 1961 federal legislation banning the transmission of wagering information across state lines.
Earlier this week, a federal court judge struck down the US Department of Justice’s new opinion on the catch-all scope of the Wire Act, offering a degree of relief for online casino and poker operators and their cross-border payment processors. However, the ruling did nothing to alter the original view that the Wire Act specifically applies to sports betting data and payments.
West Virginia bettors have been without a mobile wagering option since March 6, when the BetLucky app of local casino operator Delaware North was pulled offline due to a dispute with its technology supplier. The legal action stemming from that dispute remains ongoing, and Delaware North has warned that it will be some months before it can reach a deal with a new supplier.
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