|According to the industry’s Interactive Gaming Council, two developments on April 7 have demonstrated that the US is out of step with much of the world in its approach to online gambling.|
The gambling reform legislation in the UK was passed on the same day as the final decision of the World Trade Organization was made regarding Antigua’s complaint that the US prohibition of Internet gambling violates US commitments under the GATS, the General Agreement on Trade in Services.
The reform of the UK’s gambling laws includes provisions for licensing and regulating remote (interactive) gambling to include Internet casinos, sportsbooks, betting exchanges and poker. A new Gambling Commission will ensure that licensed remote gambling businesses are operated fairly while taking measures to prevent criminal activity, such as money laundering, and gambling by minors.
‘This long-awaited reform in the UK is a huge step forward for the cause of regulated remote gambling,’ said Rick Smith, executive director of the IGC. ‘Finally a first world government, one that has successfully regulated terrestrial gambling for years, is taking responsibility for the regulation of this rapidly growing form of gambling.’
According to IGC, the WTO found that because of the Interstate Horseracing Act, the US does not consistently apply its prohibitions against ‘remote betting services for horse racing.’ Foreign and domestic suppliers of these services are treated differently, the ruling says, and that violates the GATS.
‘It’s hard to predict what changes the US will make to conform with its GATS obligations, or whether it will risk flouting the WTO by ignoring a ruling that it doesn’t like,’ said Keith Furlong, deputy director of the IGC, ‘But this ruling helps to make the case for regulated interactive gambling in the US by putting pressure on policy makers to reconsider their inconsistent, ill-advised approaches.