CONCORD — The New Hampshire Lottery Commission sued the Trump administration in federal court Friday, arguing a new guideline threatens to rob the state of millions in profits from legal gambling.
Gov. Chris Sununu endorsed the suit brought in U.S. District Court in Concord that responds to a Justice Department guideline that expanded what the federal government viewed as betting across the internet in violation of the federal Wire Act.
“Today New Hampshire is taking action to protect public education in New Hampshire,” Sununu said. “The opinion issued by DOJ puts millions of dollars of school funding at risk, and we have a responsibility to stand up for our students.”
At the very least, Lottery Executive Director Charles McIntyre said the ruling deems illegal the purchasing of New Hampshire lottery tickets on the web.
And it contradicts a guideline from the department. in 2011 that concluded only sports betting taking place across state lines was illegal.
“The New Hampshire Lottery has a responsibility to support education in New Hampshire,” McIntyre said. “Just last year, the New Hampshire Lottery generated $87.5 million in net profits, all of which supports education in New Hampshire and we expect to generate more than $90 million for education this year. This reversal by DOJ puts that support for education in question.”
The New Hampshire Union Leader first reported on this controversy with McIntyre confirming at a minimum the state could lose up to $5 million in the current year and $8 million by 2021.
Also on Friday, NeoPollard Interactive LLC, a major internet lottery vendor that serves New Hampshire and other state lotteries, filed its own suit in the same court, which also asked a federal judge for a speedy ruling.
In early January, federal justice officials advised they would give lottery agencies and vendors 90 days to come into compliance with the new guidelines.