EU concludes a 12 month investigation into inequities and discriminatory nature of US position

Dow Jones business news service reports that the 27 nation European Union trade bloc has announced the completion of its 12 month investigation into US anti-online gambling practices, reaching the conclusion that the US government is in breach of international trade rules.

The investigation was undertaken at the behest of major European gambling groups working through the Remote Gaming Association, which claimed that US laws and enforcement practices discriminated against European online gambling businesses and individuals and were in breach of World Trade Organisation rules.

The finding is a further setback for the Americans, who have lost a succession of disputes brought against them by the Antigua and Barbuda government in the WTO based on US anti-online gambling laws.

EU investigators said that U.S. moves to bar European online gambling companies from operating in the U.S. constitute an obstacle to trade despite the US Trade Representative unilaterally removing gambling from its WTO trade obligations last year.

Although proceedings at the World Trade Organisation would be justified, the investigating team recommended that the E.U should seek a negotiated solution with the U.S. government on the matter, the report said.

E.U. Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton said: "It is for the U.S. to decide how best to regulate Internet gambling in its market, but this must be done in a way that fully respects WTO obligations."

"I am hopeful that we can find a swift, negotiated solution to this issue," she added.

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