Europe wants ‘net ban lifted

Nov 13, 2007 7:05 AM

The United States must change an Internet gambling law that discriminates against European companies by preventing them from offering services in the U.S. market, the European Union’s top trade official said last week.

"What we need to see is a change in U.S. legislation that removes that discrimination against EU operators," EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson told reporters before heading to Capitol Hill to discuss the issue with U.S. lawmakers.

"It’s not in the interest of American consumers to have good responsible competitors in this market excluded by regulatory mechanisms."

The European Union and other trading partners have been in compensation talks with the United States over Washington’s decision to retroactively remove gambling services from the market-opening commitments it made as part of the 1994 Uruguay Round world trade agreement.

The United States took that step after the World Trade Organization ruled in a case brought by the tiny Caribbean nation Antigua and Barbuda.

Congress has since passed a broader online gambling ban.