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EU Will Challenge US Internet Gambling Laws Through WTO

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act that was passed by the United States in October of 2006 may be challenged by the European Union through the WTO, according to EU International Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy.

Several British online gambling firms were forced out of the U.S. market as a result.

"In my view it is probably a restrictive practice and we might take it up in another fora," said McCreevy.

McCreevey said the US was banning Internet gambling in an attempt to protect their home land gambling interest, which is protectionism, which is against World Trade Organization regulations.

McCreevy later told reporters the U.S. rules were a "prima facie" case of protectionism and that the World Trade Organisation was a possible venue for tackling them.

However, due to the WTO's protracted negotiations to secure a new world trade agreement, McCreevy said he would not rush to file a complaint.

"It's not something of major momentum," McCreevy said.

There have been no face-to-face talks about the issue with Peter Mandelson, the EU trade commissioner, McCreevy said.

McCreevy has launched legal actions against several EU countries to tackle obstacles to foreign competition.

The news from McCreevy about his future plans to fight the US in this case comes less than a week after the WTO ruled against the US in the Antiga Barbuda case.

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