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Poker News | Gambling and the Law

USA Agrees to Deal Over UIGEA

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A deal has been reached between Japan, Canada, the European Union (EU) and the USA, over the USA’s ban on online gambling, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).

Just hours after the deal was reached, Gretchen Hamel, a spokeswoman for the US Trade Representative's office, said, "We are pleased to confirm that the United States has reached agreement, with Canada, the EU and Japan. The agreement involves commitments to maintain our liberalized markets for warehousing services, technical testing services, research and development services and postal services relating to outbound international letters.”

When asked how much the deal was worth, Hamel replied, “We're not going to get into that.”

In part, the agreement stated that the USA will continue to keep the door closed on the foreign Internet Gambling market. US Trade officials said that although a deal was reached with the EU, Japan and Canada, talks of a compensation deal are still going on with Antigua, Barbuda, Costa Rica and Macau.

Whatever the terms of the agreement, it is said to be a big blow for the European online gambling companies. They all had high hopes that the WTO (World Trade Organization) case brought by Antigua against the USA, would culminate with them being able to get back into the lucrative US market. The EU gambling companies had claimed they were entitled to compensation of as much as 100 billion for being blocked from accessing the US gambling market. Officials of the EU, however, never publicly endorsed that amount and US officials called it a highly exaggerated sum.

Antigua scored a victory in 2005 when the WTO ruled in their favor against the USA. The WTO ruling stated that the US was discriminating against foreign firms with the UIGEA, which allowed only American companies to provide horse and dog race betting. But instead of revising the UIGEA to ban all online gambling, the US Congress tightened restrictions even more, by prohibiting banks to conduct financial transactions with online gambling companies.

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