The Remote Gambling Association (RGA) has reacted angrily to the deal agreed by PartyGaming co-founder Anurag Dikshit and called on the European Commission to protect the interests of European Union-based online gambling firms from retroactive and discriminatory enforcement by US authorities.
The London-based group was established in 2005 following a merger between the Association of Remote Gambling Operators and the Interactive Gaming, Gambling and Betting Association. It represents some of the world's largest licensed remote gambling companies and provides them with a single voice.
'These events show that the outgoing US administration and the Department of Justice have demonstrated a total disrespect for the legal rights of European online gaming companies and those associated with them and a complete disregard for US international commitments under the General Agreement on Trade in Services,' said Clive Hawkswood, Chief Executive for the RGA.
The RGA stated that European Commissioner Peter Mandelson had wrote to the Bush Administration in June requesting a freeze on all enforcement actions against European online gaming companies because any such actions violated international trade rules set by the World Trade Organization. At that time, Mandelson suggested that the prosecutions stop until a proper dialogue could be worked out in order to avoid escalating the dispute at a time when the European Union had already launched an enquiry into US actions following an complaint by the RGA made under Trade Barrier Regulations.
'Not only has that request remained unanswered but now the US authorities, it seems, have succeeded in pressuring a major shareholder into making a deal,” said Hawkswood.
“A major line has been crossed and it could set a very worrying precedent.
“In the circumstances it is not unreasonable for us, once again, to seek the support and protection of the European Commission. We hope and believe that these continuing breaches of international law by the US will serve to strengthen the Commission's resolve.'