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