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Poker News: June 18th, 2009

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HEADLINE: European Commission Finds US Is Violating Trade Agreements

The European Commission has issued a report stating that US laws on Internet gambling are not legally justified and are discriminatory against foreign Internet gambling operators.

The report is in stark contrast to last week’s news that Federal authorities in the eastern state of New York have frozen or seized bank accounts belonging to some 27,000 online poker players said to be worth up to $34 million.

“The European Commission report provides yet another reason why the Obama Administration and Congress should support pending legislation to regulate Internet gambling, which would resolve the trade agreement violation and better protect consumers” said Jeffrey Sandman, Spokesperson for the Safe And Secure Internet Gambling Initiative (SSIGI).

“The Obama Administration should seek to forge a new direction on Internet gambling rather than keeping in place a protectionist trade policy that hypocritically discriminates against foreign online gambling operators.”

The SSIGI revealed that legislation recently introduced by New York Representative Barney Frank, known as the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act, would resolve this trade dispute by regulating Internet gambling and creating a level playing field among domestic and foreign Internet gambling operators.

The European Commission report was instigated by a Trade Barrier Regulation complaint filed by the Remote Gambling Association. It concluded that the treatment of foreign Internet gambling operators by the US under existing domestic law constitutes a barrier to market access for European companies.

In addition, the report found that the US is in violation of international trade agreements by threatening and pursuing criminal prosecutions, forfeitures and other enforcement actions against foreign Internet gambling operators while allowing domestic online operators, primarily horse betting firms, to flourish.

The report suggested resolving the trade dispute through a negotiated solution with the Obama Administration. If the parties cannot settle the matter themselves, the European Commission could bring a case against the US to the World Trade Organisation.

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Article downloaded from the World Wide Web on June 18, 2009

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