EU may challenge U.S. online gambling law

The bloc's top financial regulator said Tuesday that the European Union (EU) may challenge the United States' restrictions on online gambling, Reuters is reporting.

Charlie McCreevy, EU Internal Market Commissioner, told the media that the U.S. restrictions to the online gambling industry were basically a case of protectionism.

It is his opinion that the new U.S. law that outlaws financial transactions for gaming is meant to protect the nation's own gambling market.

The new law was passed as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) last October and prevents banks from allowing transactions to foreign online gambling sites. However, certain forms of online gambling such as horse race betting and state lotteries are exempt.

Several online poker and casino sites were forced out of the U.S. market as a result of the law. Some independently owned sites such as,, Full Tilt Poker and UltimateBet continue to serve U.S. customers.

McCreevy indicated that the World Trade Organization is one venue where the EU could take its case.

While the EU hasn't filed a complaint about the U.S. online gambling restrictions with the EU yet, Antigua and Barbuda have already been working with the WTO to resolve their case against the U.S. in the same matter.

In Antigua and Barbuda's case, the WTO has already ruled in their favor once and is expected to do so again when they issue their official report on a more recent investigation into the U.S.'s online gambling restrictions.

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