The European Union's top trade official said last week that the US must change the UIGEA law that discriminates against European companies.
The EU's stance is that the law that prevents European based companies from offering gambling services to the USA, is discriminatory and unfair. Compensation talks between the United States, the European Union and their trading partners, have been going on for a long time.
The big controversy is due to Washington retroactively removing gambling services from the commitments it made to open up world trade markets in 1994. The US decided to back step on its commitment, after the World Trade Organization ruled against them in the ongoing case brought by Antigua and Barbuda. Since then, Congress has passed an even more comprehensive online gambling ban.
Before EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson headed to Capitol Hill for discussions with U.S. lawmakers, he said, "What we need to see is a change in U.S. legislation that removes that discrimination against EU operators, it's not in the interest of American consumers to have good responsible competitors in this market excluded by regulatory mechanisms."
The EU gambling companies are seeking compensation of a reported 100 billion USD for being banned in the huge the U.S. market. "When a member of the WTO defaults on its commitments, compensation is due. That's the case of online gambling. We're in talks about the magnitude of that compensation. I think what we're asking for is reasonable and realistic. The numbers aren't quite as large as has been advertised, but they need to be substantial." Mandelson said.
Mandelson announced he would be meeting on Thursday with US Representative Barney Frank, chairman of the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee. Frank's bill to abolish the online gambling ban (UIGEA) will be the topic of their discussion. "I think he takes a fair-minded, common sense approach to this, and we look forward to that being effective legislation," Mandelson said.
"We're not telling the United States how to regulate this industry. That's not for us to do. All we're saying is, however you choose to regulate, don't discriminate against non-American operators."
In this writer's opinion, all they are asking is for the USA to do something that actually makes sense, either ban all gambling or open it up and regulate it.