EU-US Online Gambling Deal Struck, Gambling Industry Dismayed

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On Monday, the European Commission agreed to a deal with the United States over claims the U.S. has prevented EU firms from competing in the online gambling sector.

A report out of Brussels today says that the EU has agreed to an expansion in other sectors of trade to compensate for the withdrawal of commitments of the GATS on cross-border trade in the gambling sector.

European country members will now be allowed to trade in the U.S. postal, courier, research and development areas, as well as storage and warehouse sectors. The U.S. has also made concessions in the testing and analysis sectors.

Although both sides in the dispute have signed agreements, the Commission said that it would continue to press the U.S. for a non-discriminatory policy towards Internet gambling.

Publicly traded Internet gambling companies such as Party Gaming and BWIN had hoped the EU would have fought harder to restore their ability to operate in the world’s largest market instead of coming to this type of agreement.

The deal will provide for a better competition on the mail delivery systems provided by companies such as the German firm DHL. The overall valuation of the trade package is believed to be much lower than the expected $100 billion claims that have been talked about.

Peter Power, spokesman for the EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said, “While the U.S. is free to decide how to best respond to legitimate public policy concerns regarding Internet gambling, discrimination against EU or other foreign companies should be avoided.”

A decision by the WTO on compensation to the country of Antigua & Barbuda is expected to be released sometime this week. Antigua is seeking $3.44 billion in trade sanctions that would include withdrawal of its commitments to protect Copyrights, Trademarks and Patents of American companies.

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