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Poker News | Gambling and the Law

Deal or No Deal in UIGEA Settlement

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Last month a deal was penned between the USA and three other World Trade Organization (WTO) member nations over the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act).

According to the Financial Times newspaper, Canada, Japan and the 27-nation European Union (EU) reached a deal in December that allegedly made new warehousing, courier and testing service sector concessions as compensation.

The deal that was reached, however, is far below what the nations were hoping to glean in compensation from the US. The claims and subsequent deal, relates to the USA and Antigua/Barbuda WTO battle, which dragged on for months, over the USA banning online gaming. Several countries have stepped up to the plate and filed their own compensation claims against the US, and the WTO panel will eventually be ruling on all of them.

Exactly how these countries, that agreed to deal with the USA, will benefit is still murky water. There are many official statements being released by several parties involved, but none of them give a clear picture of what the settlement entails. Or, how the countries that “won a settlement,” will actually receive any monetary compensation from the deal.

The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) has stated that, “United States Postal Service has allowed foreign competitors to handle overseas mail for 20 years with this portion of the compensation agreement purely making the practice legally binding. Sensitive sectors such as domestic delivery and storage at ports and airports would remain closed to foreign firms.”

Susan Schwab, Spokesperson for the USTR said, “There will be no effect on the terms of competition and no supplier of such delivery services will receive any advantage. The compensation deal would not involve any change in US law and practice.”

The EU Trade Commissioner, Peter Mandelson, stated, “The deal gives the sector legal certainty because there would now be binding commitments.”

A quote from the Financial Times clears it up the best so far, "De facto, nothing really changes although current affairs are legally better backed through the WTO.”

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