EU seeks amends for U.S. online gaming ban

Mt. Rushmore

Antigua and Barbuda have been joined by the European Union in asking for compensation from the United States for not complying with global trade rules in regards to its online gambling ban.

According to Forbes, the EU asked for compensation on Tuesday, giving a little more weight to the seriousness of the issue.

The United States passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act last year that further restrict online gambling activities that some argue aren't technically illegal.

The new law forced several British gaming operators, including PartyGaming Plc., operator of, to close off business with the U.S. market.

Considering that about half the world's online gamblers are based in the United States and it's a market worth about $15.5 billion, that's a huge chunk out of revenue for any nation with companies vested in the online gambling industry.

The World Trade Organization has ruled that the online gambling ban goes against trade rules set out when the organization was formed and the U.S. agreed to become a member. That ruling was also recently upheld when the WTO found the nation to still be in non-compliance.

In response, the U.S. is going through the process of changing their agreement with the WTO to not include online gambling rather than come into compliance with the organization's ruling against it.

That has opened the door for other nations to start seeking compensation from the United States because of its refusal to comply with the trade rules.

According to Forbes, an EU official said Europe will probably be looking for concessions along the lines of commitments to open up other trade sectors.

"We need new concessions that would be equal with the benefits lost," the official said in Forbes on condition of anonymity.

The first step in the negotiations is to measure the loss to European businesses and then work on the concessions. The talks could take some time before the issue is sorted out.

There have been steps taken in the United States to change its online gambling laws as well. Legislation has been introduced already this year calling to legalize and regulate online gambling, for a study of online gambling and for an exemption for online poker.

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