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US V WTO Round Two?

6 April 2009, by Milton Shaw, Casinospage Staff Writer

Back in 2004, the economic minion, Antigua Barbuda won a case against the United States before the World trade Organization, which ruled that the US approach to restricting US player access to international online gambling operators, was in breach of international free trade obligations.

Since then, the US Government has taken a further step in restricting its residents from accessing offshore online gambling sites, by enacting the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in 2006. 

Just last month, a report into US gambling laws undertaken by the European Trade Commission has concluded that US online gambling laws are discriminatory, lacking in justification and in breach of international free trade undertakings by the US. 

E.U. Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton said the United States has a right to regulate Internet gambling within its borders, but it "must be done in a way that fully respects WTO obligations." Ashton said.

So where to now?  Well the report, the European Union's first formalized opinion into US online gambling laws, now paves the way for an EU case being brought against the US before the World Trade Organization.  Although it is thought by many, that a settlement between the two economic superpowers will be reached before it comes to this.  But one thing is for sure...this is an opponent that, unlike Antigua Barbuda, the US State Department will nee to take considerable notice of.

A further consideration in this whole saga, is the fact that legislation repealing the UIGEA and replacing it with a law seeking to regulate online gambling, has been promised to be put before congress for consideration by congressman Barney Frank.

Never a dull moment in the world of online gambling!


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