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Obama and Internet Gaming Censorship

November 18, 2009 (CAP Newswire) — U.S. President Barack Obama is in China at the moment, making a historic and hugely publicized mission to promote trade and other international matters.

The media took note when Obama went a bit off the Chinese government’s carefully scripted plans earlier this week to take a quick shot at that government’s policy of censoring its citizens’ access to the Internet.

While many would agree with Obama that the Chinese government shouldn’t restrict access to perhaps the most open and democratic form of mass media in human history, many others were quick to note a trace of hypocrisy in his stance, since the U.S. President could stand to improve the issue of online censorship in his home country.

As the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) goes into wider effect in these last weeks of 2009, online gambling is becoming more and more restricted. And this doesn’t just affect those citizens of the United States who’d like to gamble online. It’s also an issue of concern to the World Trade Organization, which has raised complaints that the U.S. policy discriminates against European, Asian, and Caribbean-based companies.

“The trade agreement violations have landed the US in trouble with the European Union,” writes Larry Rutherford at Casino Gambling Web. “The European Commission has given the US a grace period to correct their Internet gambling censorship laws, but as of yet the Obama Administration has not responded to the request.” (Read this article.)

If President Obama wants to demonstrate true freedom of the Internet, he certainly has the opportunity to do so, with three bills currently in the U.S. congress seeking to regulate and legalize online gambling. Each of these bills could use his support.