Trade sanctions spur D'Amato statement

Mt. Rushmore

European Union's support of Antigua and Barbuda in the World Trade Organization case against the United States because of online gambling has prompted a response from Poker Players Alliance Chairman Alfonse D'Amato.

The former senator signed on with the PPA earlier this year to help the organization fight for poker players rights in Washington.

"Last year Congress and this President moved in the wrong direction by approving the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act, which, among other things, violates the United State's WTO commitment on 'gambling and betting service," D'Amato said.

It is because of that dispute that Antigua and Barbuda are now able to seek compensation for the nation not complying with trade laws. The tiny island nation is seeking $3.4 billion annually in sanction.

The European Union also showed its support in the case by announcing its intentions to ask for compensation as well. It hasn't put a value on it yet, but did say it will probably look for the U.S. to agree to open up other areas of trade to make up for the online gambling ban.

"The Poker Players Alliance believes there is a simple solution through the regulation of online gaming," D'Amato said.

"Rather than allowing this trade dispute to continue to be played out on the world stage, the U.S. Congress should pass the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act of 2007, introduced by U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.)."

D'Amato points out that the Frank bill, which will provide enforcement of strict regulations and licensing of Internet gambling, would bring the U.S. more into compliance with its WSO commitments.

"Regulation of the industry is the only sensible public policy and trade policy solution," he said. "Moreover, it will generate significant revenue for the U.S. by simply allowing individuals a freedom they rightly deserve.

"If our government continues to ignore its trade commitments, we will threaten other U.S. industries, not related to Internet gaming, that rely on consistent trade policy, and we may be in jeopardy of forfeiting a lead role among the WTO member community."

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