March 27, 2009 (CAP Newswire) — As the United States continues to prosecute European gambling companies that it claims are in violation of its 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), the European Union is claiming that this action is in direct violation of the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the international body that dictates trade rules between countries.
The European Commission, the EU’s executive and legislative arm representing all 27 member nations, has just concluded a report on the topic. The conclusions are that WTO proceedings against the U.S.'s UIGEA enforcement would be “justified,” according to PC World Magazine. However, the commission has also expressed a willingness to figure out an alternate solution with President Obama’s administration — perhaps under the assumption that the new U.S. president will be more flexible on the topic than the previous administration.
"It is for the U.S. to decide how best to regulate Internet gambling in its market, but this must be done in a way that fully respects WTO obligations," Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton commented.
The report stems from a complaint by the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) that the U.S. is unfairly prosecuting European gaming companies, while letting U.S.-based companies operate without penalty.
Making the complaint more offensive is the United States’ apparent disregard of an agreement signed in 2007 in which it offered to compensate European companies affected by UIGEA prosecution. "However, it continued to sue European gambling firms, even though they quit the U.S. market in 2006,” writes PC World’s Paul Meller.