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Justice Dept. Reversal Could Cost States $220M

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A recent opinion by the U.S. Justice Department has put a handful of states in danger of losing at least $220 million annually in lottery profits.

The states are anxiously waiting on a clarification from the Justice Department about its opinion that could outlaw lottery tickets sold online if strictly interpreted.

The uncertainty was created by an opinion on a 1960s law enacted to crack down on the mob.

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Decades later and with the internet ruling everyone's lives, New York and Illinois asked the Obama administration whether selling lottery tickets online violated the law. The department in 2011 concluded that online gambling within states that does not involve sporting events would not break the law.

The department did an about-face in November, saying the law applies to any form of gambling that crosses state lines.