|Officials from the European Union (EU) have announced that they will interview members of the Bush Administration next month as part of their ongoing investigations into the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006.|
The EU submitted a list of questions to the White House last week relating to its discriminatory trade practices against European online gambling companies and, according to Washington publication The Hill, the interviews could lead to a potential challenge to UIGEA.
The World Trade Organisation previously ruled that UIGEA, which made it illegal for banks and other financial institutions to make payments to online gambling sites, did not comply with international trade regulations following a case brought by Antigua and Barbuda. Rather than change the law to comply with the ruling, the United States chose to pay compensation and withdraw online gambling from its commitments to the international trade body.
“We would be very surprised if the EU did not conclude that there was still a case to answer,” said Clive Hawkswood, Chief Executive for the Remote Gambling Association (RGA).
“The fact that the Department of Justice continues to threaten enforcement action against EU companies while apparently taking no action against US companies such as those offering horserace betting is an additional concern because the EU has identified that as discriminatory action, which constitutes an unfair trade barrier.”
The RGA stated that it is unfair for American officials to go after its members for services they offered in the US before UIGEA’s passage and argue that it was not clear that offering online betting was illegal before the law was approved.
“There’s this fear; people do get arrested,” said Joseph Kelly, Professor of Business Law at the State University of New York at Buffalo.