European Union to US: Open Your Online Gaming Market

by Lou on December 10, 2007

As the trade dispute between Europe and the US over Internet gaming industry continues, the British Government said it favors regulation instead of prohibition.
European Union Trade Commission Peter Mandelson (pictured right) said recently that Congress should either open its market to overseas operators or compensate Europe for blocking the American gambling market to European operators.
Trade experts acknowledge that legislation introduced by Representative Barney Frank (D-MA), the Internet Gambling Regulation Enforcement Act, could resolve the potential $100 billion gambling dispute and bring the US into compliance with international trade agreements.

The trade dispute stems from Antigua’s World Trade Organization (WTO) victory over the US earlier this year. After the WTO ruled that the US had violated trade rules in barring Antiguan online gaming operators from the US market, the US withdrew its WTO obligations with regard to free trade in the gaming area.
The US withdrawal allows Europe and other countries to demand trade concessions up to the size of the entire sector on an annual basis, which amount to the astronomical of $100 billion. If the parties cannot settle the matter themselves, binding arbitration before a WTO panel could be the result. Antigua is separately involved in arbitration with the US to determine the size of the compensation due it. Other countries seeking compensation include India, Costa Rica, and Canada.
“Rather than negotiating away settlements that could negatively impact the US economy, the Administration and US Congress should seek a more sensible policy solution and regulate Internet gambling,” said Jeffrey Sandman, spokesperson for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative. “As the British Government has correctly acknowledged, it is clear that the futile approach by the US to prohibit Internet gambling is a failure. Regulation of Internet gambling could bring the US into compliance with WTO requirements, protect consumers and generate billions in revenue needed for critical government programs.”
The Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative promotes the freedom of individuals to gamble online with the proper safeguards to protect consumers and ensure the integrity of financial transactions. Their web site, at www.safeandsecureig.org, provides a means for individuals to register support for regulated Internet gambling with their elected representatives.

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