by Hillary LaClair, Senior Editor
Pete Session’s HR 6663 has gained the support of the Remote Gambling Association, contrary to the Poker Players Alliance having said that confuses the issue of internet gambling. The RGA has endorsed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Clarification and Implementation Act of 2008, and in doing so, caused the European Union to launch an investigation into the discrimination against European online casinos by the U.S. Department of Justice.
The issue of U.S. discrimination has not been addressed by either side of the debate thus far, and the RGA feels that the internet gambling situation has been worsened by U.S. companies who remain open to the market without consequence. The European Union’s investigation is due to reach a decision by the end of this year which will decide whether or not to seek further arbitration with the World Trade Organization. There could be punitive action against the U.S. if the European Union wins, although as we’ve seen with many other countries involved in the same matter of dispute, it could be years before results are made.
If HR 6663 is passed, however, and prosecution against online casinos that withdrew from the U.S. market after the UIGEA was signed ceases, tensions could be considerably lessoned. The RGA’s chief executive, Clive Hawkswood states, “We took our case directly to U.S. legislators who have heard out message, understood the inequity of the Department of Justices’ stance, and appreciated both the unfairness in their enforcement policy and the risk to U.S. priority interests and its reputation if the policy was pursued further. This could be a major step in demonstrating that the rule of law and integrity of the WTO are still important in Washington.
“Although this is a good sign, unless and until the legislation is passed and comes into force, all EU operators who have ever taken business from the US market are potentially still under threat of prosecution and we will be forced to pursue this matter as far as it needs to go to obtain a sensible solution and fair justice,” said Hawkswood.
Hawkswood went on to express his assent to HR 6663’s supporters as he feels they are justified in their decision to avoid an unnecessary dispute with European countries, and to enforce the principles of fairness and decency in the trade relations between the U.S. and the European Union.
In addition to the UIGEA Clarification and Implementation Act, Congressmen Robert Wexler and Steve Cohen sent two separate letters to the U.S Attorney General, urging that prosecution of European Union companies for activities prior to the UIGEA be stopped, saying that it could lead to a dispute between the U.S. and the E.U.