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US Internet Gambling Ban Leads EU to Seek Compensation

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The European Union today told the United States that it is joining the countries of Antigua and Barbuda in desiring compensation for the U.S. ban on foreign Internet gambling sites. The Internet gambling ban in the United States goes against a WTO ruling that says the US cannot claim a moral high ground for its new law since the new law has exceptions for horse race betting and other forms of gambling.

As a result of the US Internet gambling ban many legalized, licensed, and regulated foreign Internet gambling companies saw huge monetary losses. The EU said it will seek concessions from the US in the form of commitments that would open up other areas of trade that were previously excluded from the WTO.

An unnamed EU official said, "We need new concessions that would be equal with the benefits lost. Negotiations at the beginning would focus on measuring the loss to European business." The representative also emphasized that talks would take some time.

Antigua and Barbuda legalizes and regulates online casinos as a means to replace tourist dollars that have diminished since a series of hurricanes ravaged the area in the late 1990s. The small island countries depend on Internet gambling as their main source of income, so when the US banned Internet gambling and they lost the majority of their revenue stream they brought the issue to the World Trade Organization.

The US has attempted to circumvent their loss on this issue in the WTO by trying to modify the original GATS agreement that was developed to govern the rules of the WTO and allow for exclusions at the time of implementation. The U.S. claims it was never their intent to allow Internet gambling and now wish to remove this from the GATS.

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