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US Makes Unsatisfactory Offer to EU Over Internet Gambling Issue

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The United States has made an offer to settle the dispute regarding services in the online gambling issue with the European Union.

The U.S. offer to the EU involves opening areas that include storage, warehouse services and technical testing to compensate for the gaming restrictions implemented with the passing of last year's Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).

This offer is thought to be inadequate and will not equate to the estimated $4 billion dollar annual loss to EU companies, as these same concessions are being offered as part of trade discussions in the Doha round of WTO talks.

The EU has asked for and has been granted an extension until October 22 to review this offer as the U.S. filed it only days before the deadline. A European Commission official confirmed the extension of talks saying, "We are examining the value of the offer. It will be discussed at EU talks next week."

The U.S. clearly is not taking this issue seriously as they also have made an inadequate offer to the original complainant, Antigua & Barbuda. The US. claims that the $3.4 Billion annual compensation to that twin island nation should be more in the area of $500,000.

Antigua's lawyer, Mark Mendel, who is making quite a name for himself with this case, has said Antigua will seek first to open the market to its operators and failing that, it would seek to revoke trademark, copyright, and IP agreements between the two countries, which will give serious financial harm to the business sector of the U.S. and the American people.

"This issue could be resolved very simply by regulation in the U.S.," said Gordon Price, CEO of CasinoGamblingWeb.com, "if the U.S. government would consider the merits of Congressman Barney Frank's bill H.R. 2046, which includes regulation, licensing, and enforcement, with adequate safeguards to protect minors and problem gamblers."

"There are privacy issues in the United States that have been compromised due to legislation passed last year without debate or understanding by congress. Personal freedoms to engage in an activity that is legal in 48 of the 50 states has been revoked when it comes to foreign companies providing a service that is readily available by domestic companies" said Price, "This is hypocrisy and protectionism at its finest."

Conservative groups and Sports Leagues have come out against this bill as one thinks it immoral and the latter does not support gambling on their respective sports.

Barney Frank's bill addresses the sports league issues and has opt-out provisions for their participation, and the safeguards that would be implemented to protect minors, abusers, problem gambling, money laundering and protect states rights, address the conservative arguments intelligently and completely, according to Price.

Proponents of instituting Internet gambling regulations believe that the UIGEA currently offers no protections, and in fact has created an unsecured, easily available, easily abused industry that once was self-regulated and largely respected. While all proponents of regulation are not necessarily for gambling, they are for regulation in order to protect the vulnerable.

"The UK has this year allowed Internet Gambling by law, with regulation and safeguards, a model the U.S. should be looking to mirror. Studies have shown that Internet Gambling has not increased problem gamblers, and while conservative groups say that minors are more likely to develop an addiction to gambling, with regulation minors will not have access to this type of gambling. Without regulation, it is a free-for-all which will compound over time," Gordon Price said.

September 24, 2007
Posted By Larry Rutherford
Staff Editor, CasinoGamblingWeb.com
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