June 6, 2019
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel praised the U.S. District Court of New Hampshire’s ruling earlier this week that set aside the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) 2018 opinion that encompassed all types of bets and wagers in the federal Wire Act’s prohibitions.
The court held that the Wire Act only applies to transmissions related to bets or wagers on a sporting event or contest, not intrastate online lottery games offered by Michigan and other states, as the DOJ opinion had asserted. The decision preserves Michigan’s more than $900 million dollars in annual funding for its schools.
“The District Court’s decision is a significant victory for Michigan because it protects lottery money that funds Michigan’s education system each year,” Nessel said. “Since 1972, the Michigan Lottery has contributed more than $22 billion to support public education, including more than $900 million last year alone. Each dollar spent on education is critical, which is why the Court’s decision is so important to the success of Michigan’s schools.”
Michigan took the lead to protect lottery revenue for schools in a 12-jurisdiction brief filed in March supporting the New Hampshire Lottery Commission in two consolidated cases in the New Hampshire federal district court. Michigan was joined by Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia.