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Online Casino News - July, 2008

EU Officials Likely to Challenge U.S. Online Gambling Legislation



  Seed Newsvine

by Margaret Oliveira, News Staff Writer

July 14, 2008

An article this week by Eli Lehrer in The American Spectator forecasts a rough road ahead for the U.S. as the time comes nigh when European Union trade emissaries speak visit Washington D.C. later this month and speak with the U.S. Department of Justice and Congress itself. No doubt posing some tough questions regarding the UIGEA and the U.S. stance on internet betting as a whole, the EU delegation could very well incite cause for trade restrictions if the U.S. continues its bullying approach toward international trading.

Leher's article offers a strong breakdown regarding the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, including its many shortcomings, the implications of enforcing it, not to mention the imminent difficulties - some would say impossibilities - of getting the UIGEA enforced to begin with. Leher also cited two other pieces of vaguely enforceable legislation apparently designed to regulate casino gambling and sports betting - the 1961 Wire Act and 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.

A common theme in all three pieces of legislation is something which Leher says is of major concern for the EU delegation. Anyone who is familiar with the UIGEA will know it is characterized by carve outs for horse racing, fantasy football and lotteries. It's also no surprise that the UIGEA was heavily endorsed by the National Football League, although the bills proponents claim it was passed for moral reasons...err, American family values. It is precisely these carve outs which stand as the crutch for an international dispute.

In other words, the international community at large wants to know how the U.S. can be a member of the World Trade Organization, yet close off business to foreign betting operators, which the U.S. itself permits within its own borders. And to further add fuel to the fire, the U.S. Department of Justice continues discriminatorily persecuting foreign online gambling companies in other WTO member States.

But just when you though the U.S. can get away with anything it wants to, the European Union has begun creating a formal Trade Barriers Regulation complaint against the U.S. government specifically in regards to online gambling. The questions already presented to the U.S. Trade Representative's Office, Susan Schwab (which she defensively dismissed), resembled more of a legal brief than an inquiry. Although it is not certain how far the EU is willing to make a case against the U.S. in front of the international community, the fact of the matter is that the UIGEA is not sitting right with many people.



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