EU signs deal with U.S. on online gambling

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The U.S. ban on financial transactions between banks and foreign online gambling companies remains, but there is compensation in other areas. The international trouble regarding the behaviour of the U.S. is however no longer an issue. According to AP and Bloomberg, the United States and the European Union's row over the online gambling ban by the over but the issue has not abandoned within the World Trade Organization (WTO).

eu-usThe EU, like many other stakeholders, had objections to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in October 2006 as the United States prohibited all financial transactions between financial institutions and online gambling websites. This means in effect the draining of the online gambling industry. European gaming businesses calculated the damage of the failure of their American customers to the tune of $2.8 billion to $4 billion, on an overall market of between $15 to $20 billion. Apart from Europe Japan, Canada, India, Australia, Costa Rica and Macao also demanded that the gambling ban be lifted. The requirement for this purpose within the WTO was the first filed by Antigua and Bermuda, where many gambling companies for fiscal and legal reasons exist. Their loss is said to be more than $3 billion in turnover.

The U.S. and Europe have now promised compensation in the form of the initiation of a number of markets. They have nothing to do with gambling, but Europe will offer new opportunities in other areas. These include the logistics, postal and courier markets including cooperation with TNT Post in the Netherlands for example, but not gambling companies. These companies are so outraged to see the agreement and demand from the U.S. law still on the table. The value of the U.S. commitment is hard to muster, said a spokesperson from the EU.

With Antigua and Bermuda, there is still no agreement. Around 10 percent of the economy is reliant upon the gambling industry since entrepreneur Jay Cohen began to make his fortunes with the World Sports Exchange more than a decade ago. Eight years back he spent over 17 months in prison. Cohen moved to Antigua in connection with his complaint to the World Trade Organization against the U.S.. In 2005, the U.S. was found to in the wrong by the WTO. Subsequently, the U.S. has withdrawn its trade obligations within the WTO regarding gaming and further tightened its restrictions with the said law UIGEA from 2006. According to lawyers involved this totally contrivined the international rules of conduct. The probability that Antigua will receieve any compensation is not great.

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