|According to the Reuters news agency, the European Union (EU) Trade Commissioner, Peter Mandelson, has told Washington that its Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) is unfair to foreign firms and should be repealed.|
Mandelson is in American to negotiate fair and adequate compensation for the 27-nation EU following the unilateral withdrawal of the US from World Trade Organisation (WTO) obligations after UIGEA was declared discriminatory.
'It's not in the interest of American consumers to have good responsible competitors in this market excluded by regulatory mechanisms,' said Mandelson. 'What we need to see is a change in US legislation that removes that discrimination against EU operators.'
European gambling firms asked the EU to pursue claims of up to $100 billion in compensatory sanctions and Mandelson has indicated that he supports these claims.
'When a member of the WTO defaults on its commitments, compensation is due,' continued Mandelson. 'That's the case of online gambling.'
While in Washington, Mandelson also met with Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank and discussed the legislator’s proposed Internet Gambling Regulation And Enforcement Act (IGREA) that would regulate online gambling and bring the US into compliance with WTO rules.
'I think Frank takes a fair-minded, common sense approach to this and we look forward to that being effective legislation,' said Mandelson.
The EU is the largest of at least seven claimants seeking compensation over America’s passage of UIGEA and negotiations have twice been extended. If the parties cannot reach a settlement, the EU could demand binding arbitration.