EU Joins Antigua in Complaint against UIGEA

19 June 2007

How much will it take before the ban is lifted on U.S. online gambling? Not just a questions of many American citizens, but it is now a world-wide question on the minds of The World Trade Organization, The European Union, British online gaming operators and many others are stacking up on this list as the months go by.

Online gambling was a profitable income for hundreds of citizens in Barbuda and Antigua, which were damaged by a series of hurricanes in the late 1990’s, and this profit was helping to end the dependence on tourism among the islands. The EU, the world’s largest consumer market, has joined the twin-island nations in seeking out compensation for their losses.

Gaming operators, such as Leisure & Gaming PLC and Sportingbet PLC, in the British online gaming industry were forced to quit in the U.S. online market last year due to Washington shutting down online gambling credit card and banking processes outside of the U.S.

The United States holds almost half of the world’s online gamblers who spent over 15 billion last year, of which the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act cut off, the income to many companies around the world.

The loss to European businesses will be the focus in initial negotiations, an EU official said, the concessions Europe will be looking for would likely be other trade sectors with commitments. The EU official quoted, “We need new concessions that would be equal with the benefits lost.”

It is a good thing that the U.S. does not like to lose, but after losing the case of unfairly targeting offshore casinos and announcing to take unprecedented legal steps of changing the international commitments towards the World Trade Organization, it is time to give in. The U.S. declined to challenge the WTO ruling where it could keep restrictions against sport betting if it were also applied to American businesses.

The bill that was introduced by U.S. Republican Barney Frank in April, 2007 would reverse the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, but the opposition from the Bush administration puts this bill in question and at long odds in Congress.

Associated Press Writer Bradley S. Klapper in Geneva contributed to this report.

We the people did not vote on an online gambling act, which is a separate issue with wire tapping and terrorism, and believe that by rocking the boat you will scare away the big fish. Well, Washington is scaring away the big fish, and the way to stop this is to take off the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, and let everyone go back to their normal online gambling lives.

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