World Trade Organization Report Claims US Internet Gaming Laws are Illegal and Discriminatory

by Lou on June 19, 2009

This past April the World Trade Organization (WTO) claimed that internet gambling laws in the US were illegal and contrary to US treaty obligations under the WTO. Recently the WTO released the full text of the report.
EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton was quoted as saying, “Internet gambling is a complex and delicate area, and we do not want to dictate how the US should regulate its market. However, the US must respect its WTO obligations. I hope that we will be able to reach an amicable solution to this issue.”

The report concludes a year-long investigation set off by a request by the Remote Gambling Association (RGA), a London-based trade organization. RGA said that the US ban on foreign internet gambling providers was unfairly discriminatory and constituted a violation of world trade rules.

European gaming providers point to falling profits and declining stock prices since the 2006 passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which forced many online poker providers to leave the US market. The EU report supports these assertions.

Even if Barney Frank (D-MA) is successful in overturning UIGEA through legislation introduced earlier this year, the European Union (EU) believes that action by the WTO would still be justified because the US is now engaged in legal proceedings against European internet gambling providers for actions they took before UIGEA’s enactment.
The US claims it was illegal for foreign online gaming providers to operate in the United States even before UIGEA was enacted, while RGA and EU firms believe US law was unclear at the time.

Despite the report, a WTO case may not be forthcoming. Instead, it would be a step in ongoing negotiations between the EU and the Obama administration.

{ 1 comment }

PokerBoy July 12, 2009 at 4:33 pm

When will they learn…

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