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Discriminatory practices against EU operators highlighted

June 25, 2009 2009

The European Union has urged the United States to open talks on scrapping the ban on foreign online gambling companies.

The Commission has issued a report that finds U.S. laws on Internet gambling are legally not justified and are discriminatory against foreign Internet gambling operators.

The European Commission’s investigation found that US’ laws on remote gambling and their enforcement against EU companies constituted an unacceptable trade barrier that put it in breach of WTO rules.

The European Commission report, instigated by a Trade Barrier Regulation complaint filed by the Remote Gambling Association (RGA), concludes that the treatment of foreign Internet gambling operators by the U.S. under existing domestic law constitutes a barrier to market access for European companies. Further, the report found that the U.S. is in violation of international trade law by threatening and pursuing criminal prosecutions, forfeitures and other enforcement actions against foreign Internet gambling operators, while allowing U.S. online gambling operators, primarily horse betting, to flourish.

Jeffrey Sandman, spokesperson for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative, said that the Obama Administration should seek to forge a new direction on Internet gambling, rather than keeping in place a protectionist trade policy that hypocritically discriminates against foreign online gambling operators.

It added that legislation recently introduced by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act (H.R. 2267), would resolve this trade dispute by regulating Internet gambling and creating a level playing field among domestic and foreign Internet gambling operators.

The legislation also mandates a number of significant consumer protections including safeguards against compulsive and underage gambling, money laundering, fraud and identify theft.

According to a report filed by AP, the EU says it could seek compensation from the World Trade Organization because the 2006 ban unfairly prevents foreign Internet gambling sites from operating in the United States. But it said it would hold off launching legal action until it had the chance to negotiate a solution with President Barack Obama’s administration.


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