|The Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative lobby group revealed last week that the European Commission has launched a formal investigation into America’s Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006.|
The Washington, DC-based organisation stated that the Commission had submitted a list of questions to leading US officials relating to the United States' discriminatory trade practices against European online gambling companies.
The World Trade Organisation previously ruled that the American’s UIGEA online gambling ban did not comply with its trade regulations following a case brought by the tiny Caribbean island nation of Antigua and Barbuda. Rather than change its laws to comply with the ruling, the United States chose to pay compensation and withdraw online gambling from its commitments to the international trade body. This opened the White House up to compensation claims from other nations involved in online gambling with the Bush Administration already agreeing trade concessions as compensation with the Europeans.
'The cumulative effect of the US’ World Trade Organisation-related actions over the past year have forced the European Union to take this dramatic step,” said Naotaka Matsukata, the former Director of Policy Planning for United States Trade Representative Robert Zoellick.
“The line of inquiry opened by the questionnaire could reveal that the US is engaging in unfair, discriminatory and selective prosecution of European online gaming operators.
'If the European Union takes the nuclear option and brings the US to the World Trade Organisation, serious damage would be inflicted on the bilateral relationships at a delicate time in transatlantic relations.'
'Rather than taking this risk, the US Trade Representative should work with Congress as the United States Constitution instructs to resolve the dispute by adopting Congressman Frank's Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act (IGREA) to bring the US into compliance with the World Trade Organisation.'