RGA looking to dispute U.S. online gambling laws

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The Remote Gambling Association is not going to sit around and wait for the U.S. government to change its laws regarding online gambling.

In December 2007 the organization filed a formal complaint against the United States for discrimination based on violations of World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. Now the RGA is hosting a media briefing on the background and the latest developments related to the complaint.

The European Union reached a deal with the U.S. regarding withdrawal of online gambling and betting services from U.S. WTO commitments in late 2007. The compensation package saw the EU receive some new trade opportunities from the U.S. but nothing that will directly benefit the European online gambling companies.

The subsequent complaint, under the EU's Trade Barriers Regulation, asserts that the U.S. Department of Justice is in violation of international trade law by threatening and pressing criminal prosecutions, forfeitures and other enforcement actions against foreign online gaming operators while allowing domestic U.S. online gaming operators to flourish.

If the European Commission opens an investigation, which is expected, another WTO dispute resolution procedure could follow, similar to the recent case which ended with a victory for the small island nation of Antigua and Barbuda over the United States.

The media briefing will take place Jan. 28 in Brussels. It will feature as speakers RGA representative Lode Van den Hende, Herbert Smith LLP, New York University professor of law Joseph H.H. Weiler and Weiser Group President Jonathan Cohen.

The panel will also address other Internet gambling-related issues - such as the ongoing WTO Article 21 arbitration cases.

The RGA is one of the world's largest trade associations. Based in London, it represents dozens of European online gaming operators. Most of the world's largest licensed and stock market-listed remote gambling companies, including online poker rooms, belong to the organization.

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