|The European Union (EU) has requested compensation from the United States in response to its ban on foreign online gambling sites that do not comply with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.|
British online gaming operators such as Sportingbet PLC and Leisure And Gaming were forced to quit the profitable US market in October following the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).
This closed off a region where up to half of the world’s online gamblers were based worth upwards of $15 billion but the WTO ruled two months later that UIGEA was unlawful as it unfairly targeted offshore casinos.
EU officials say that Europe was looking for concessions that would commit the Americans to opening up other trade sectors.
“We need new concessions that would be equal with the benefits lost,” an EU spokesperson stated.
He said that initial negotiations would focus on measuring the loss to European businesses and warned that talks would take some time.
Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank, the Democrat Congressman that chairs a committee overseeing financial services, has introduced a Bill that would reverse UIGEA and regulate the industry, but this plan faces fierce opposition from the Bush administration and his allies in Congress.