Monday, December 17, 2007

European Union and United States Reach Trade Agreement to Continue Ban of Online Gaming

[Content Disclosure: 100% Poker, 14% Fascism, 9% Stupidity]

The hope of many US poker players was that the huge compensation over the WTO trade ruling would force the Federal government to back off on the UIGEA. Well quietly today the EU and the US have agreed on a trade deal that will allow the United States to continue to block European gaming sites from soliciting customers using US based computers.

The European Union has accepted a compensation package the U.S. has offered, in response to its withdrawal from World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements on gambling and betting services. "A bilateral agreement was signed in Geneva, which provides EU service suppliers with new trade opportunities in the U.S. postal and courier, research and development, storage and warehouse sectors," the Commission said. "The U.S. also made concessions in the testing and analysis services sector."

The WTO ruled in 2005 that the U.S. gambling ban -- which exempts certain domestic services, for online horse-racing -- effectively discriminates against foreign companies seeking to offer similar services in the U.S. market.

The European Union said it will also "continue to press for non discriminatory treatment in U.S. internet gambling legislation."

Meanwhile, a WTO decision on what sanctions the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda may impose on the U.S., over its refusal to allow U.S. citizens to gamble at foreign online casinos, has been delayed, Reuters reports.

Antigua has asked the WTO for permission to impose $3.44 billion in annual trade sanctions, while the U.S. says the country should be entitled to $500,000 in damages.

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