The Remote Gaming Association (RGA) has filed a complaint against the US under the European Union's Trade Barriers Regulation on behalf of European online gambling companies. Clive Hawkswood, RGA's Chief Executive said, "We have been left with no choice but to pursue all legal avenues available to challenge the US Department of Justice for its discriminatory enforcement activities against European online gaming operators."
In their press release, the RGA pointed out that while the US Department of Justice continues to claim that all online gambling is illegal and has exerted pressure on foreign online gaming companies with forfeitures and threatened prosecutions, they have left domestic online gambling companies, specifically relating to online horseracing wagering, unfettered.
RGA's announcement comes on the heels of the WTO settlement between the European Union and the US. In a case initiated by Antigua and Barbuda, the WTO determined that US online gambling laws and policies were discriminatory and violated the conditions of their trade commitments. Rather than conform to the 1994 services agreement, the US filed to withdraw access to its online gambling market from WTO trading partners, opening the floodgates of compensation claims against the US. The terms of the agreement granted the EU access to previously restricted US postal, warehousing and analysis and testing markets, but represented no compensation to the very online gaming companies that were being discriminated against.
While Hawkswood has said he was disappointed with the EU settlement, he has nothing but praise for EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson. "He has done a lot for us," he said. "When was the last time we had a senior politician go to the US to press the case for the gambling industry?"
Once the EU reviews and investigates the RGA's complaint, it will make a determination whether to enter into discussions with the US to work out an appropriate solution. The EU will also have the option to take the case before the WTO for resolution.