Online Gambling Ban in USA Violates WTO Rules

Published Thursday, June 11, 2009 -

The European Commission has finally released it's report on the complaint brought forth against the USA last March 11 2008. The complaint states that U.S. laws that prohibit online gambling violate international trade agreements as they discriminate against European companies.

The 94 page report concludes that "the U.S. measures constitute an obstacle to trade that is inconsistent with, World Trade Organization rules." The commission also alleges that the U.S. Department of Justice has been forcing foreign banks and credit card processors to comply to it's rules as part of a method to stop online wagering.

EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton, said, "Internet gambling is a complex and delicate area, and we do not want to dictate how the U.S. should regulate its market. However, the U.S. must respect its WTO obligations," adding, "I hope that we will be able to reach an amicable solution to this issue."

The report said, "There has been substantial enforcement activity by the Department of Justice against EU Internet gambling and betting companies and their shareholders and executives,"

"The obstacles to trade identified in the complaint have forced the total withdrawal and/or absence of EU companies from the U.S. market and have significant negative effects on their business outside the United States ...,"

"The obstacles to trade can therefore be considered as causing and threatening to cause adverse trade effects, having a material impact on a sector of economic activity and a region of the [European] Community." the report concluded.

The Remote Gambling Association, filed the original complaint with the European Commission, said it was looking forward to a speedy resolution of the case one that would ease the way for U.S. credit cardholders to legally place bets over the Internet. Clive Hawkswood, the RGA's chief executive officer said, "The publication of the full report will now enable others to see what a comprehensive and objective investigation was undertaken by the European Commission before it reached such a clear conclusion and found in our favor," adding, "This is another step forward in the process and we hope that negotiations between the U.S. and E.U. on this issue will now progress to a satisfactory outcome without delay."

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