EC to scrutinise US online gambling

The European Commission is investigating a complaint by a London gambling trade group that claims the US is unfairly discriminating against European online gambling companies.

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The European Commission is investigating a complaint by a London gambling trade group that claims the US is unfairly discriminating against European online gambling companies.

The development comes as the US seeks to withdraw from its international trade commitments to provide open access to its online gambling market.

The London-based Remote Gambling Association (RGA) claimed in a suit filed with the EC last year that the US was enforcing its laws against online gambling selectively against foreign suppliers.

The organisation is objecting to what it says are prosecutions of its members for their actions prior to the passage of the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. It also objects to its members being shut out of the market while the US permits domestic internet companies to offer remote online betting on horse and dog racing.

The commission will examine these issues raised by the RGA's complaint over the next five to seven months and issue a report, which might lead to World Trade Organisation (WTO) proceedings against the US.

Meanwhile, the US is trying to step back from its commitments to provide open access to its online gambling market under the General Agreement on Trade in Services, which it has signed as a member of the WTO.

A spokeswoman for the US Trade Representative's office in Washington said that it reached an agreement with the European Union in December to compensate it for the US withdrawal from its treaty commitments. She said that the USTR had been assured by the commission that the new investigation is unrelated to that settlement.