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IGT is suing the US Department of Justice

The Rhode Island-based company wants to know if it can run online lotteries and other forms of gambling without the threat of prosecution

Happy Wednesday! I’m Dan McGowan and I say stuffing is definitely the best Thanksgiving food. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to

Coronavirus updates

Rhode Island has a high level of transmission: 311.5 total new cases per 100K population in the past 7 days

Fully vaccinated: 757,142 (of about 1.1 million residents)

New cases: 566

Test-positive rate: 5.4 percent

Currently hospitalized: 114

Total deaths: 2,913

More stats from the R.I. Department of Health. Globe Rhode Island COVID-19 news and resources. Subscribe to our Coronavirus Next newsletter.

Leading off

Programming note: I’m heading on a short vacation, so there will be no Rhode Map tomorrow or Friday, and my talented colleague Ed Fitzpatrick will hold down the fort all of next week.


Rhode Island-based IGT is suing the US Department of Justice over a 2018 legal opinion that the lottery and gambling giant claims could force the company into “the choice of either fundamentally restructuring (or closing) its business, or risking a federal felony prosecution.”

IGT is seeking clarity on whether a large chunk of its non-lottery business – like online casino gaming – is subject to the federal Wire Act, a 1961 law that banned most forms of interstate gambling.

What this means: IGT wants to know if it can run online lotteries and other forms of gambling for states without the threat of prosecution. The lawsuit notes that “virtually all modern lottery and gaming relies on interstate wires.”

”While gambling laws around the country have been relaxed in recent years – especially around sports betting – the Wire Act is still in place, and the justice department has issued contradictory guidance around the types of gambling where the law still applies.

In 2011, the justice department issued an opinion that said the Wire Act applies only to sports betting (this is why you can’t use your Rhode Island Sportsbook app in Seekonk) but in 2018, the department said that it applies to all forms of gambling.


The state of New Hampshire filed a similar lawsuit against the justice department in 2019, and the courts sided with the state. But IGT’s complaint claims that the ruling applied specifically to New Hampshire.

IGT’s lawsuit was filed in the US District Court in Rhode Island.

The Globe in Rhode Island

⚓ Why didn’t more students speak out against North Kingstown coach Aaron Thomas? Read more.

⚓ Here’s what President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan could mean for Rhode Island. Read more.

⚓ A Warwick police officer fatally shot and killed a man who authorities said advanced toward police and pointed a rifle in their direction Monday night. Read more.

⚓ Newport’s city manager is standing by the city police department’s review of the 1966 death of an employee of wealthy heiress Doris Duke that found — like the original investigation — it was all an accident. Read more.

⚓ Rhode Map readers have sent another round of Happy Birthday wishes to: Courtney Hawkins, Fiona Russ (19), Manya Dyer (18), Dean Weinberg, Angela Romans, Alison Eichler, Doug MacGunnigle, Sandra Bessacini (79), Benjamin Branchaud, David Segal, Pete Quattromani, Joyce Saudade, David Fallon (43), Roy Ringman, and Geoff Berg.

Here’s more Globe Rhode Island coverage.

Also in the Globe

⚓ Welcome to the season of COVID confusion. We’re bombarded with statistics. Infections, breakthrough cases, death tolls, vaccine effectiveness rates. And yet, as our second COVIDS-giving dawns, clarity feels ever further away. Read more.


⚓ COVID-19 cases have jumped 59 percent in New England in the past 2 weeks. Read more.

⚓ Here are 10 free agent pitchers the Red Sox could target this offseason. Read more.

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What’s on tap today

E-mail events to us at

⚓ Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Don’t be late for dinner! We’ve got you covered if you’re cooking, and even have ideas for using up all those leftovers.

⚓ The Holiday Lights Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo begins on Friday night.

⚓ Be sure to shop local on Small Business Saturday. We have a list of great places to shop in Rhode Island.

My previous column

I asked the six Democratic candidates for governor to offer some advice to President Joe Biden. They mostly talked about themselves.

If you missed the column, you can read it here. And all of my columns are on our Rhode Island Commentary page.

Rhode Island Report podcast

Ed Fitzpatrick talks to Lorén Spears from the Tomaquag Museum about what Thanksgiving represents for Indigenous people. Listen to all of our podcasts here.

Boston Globe App

You can get alerts about Rhode Island news on the Globe’s app (iOS and Android). Just tap the gear icon, then “Edit Alert Settings,” and choose Rhode Island.


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Dan McGowan can be reached at Follow him @danmcgowan.