European Commission Claims U.S. is breaking trade agreements

Barney Frank (D-MA), the online betting Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act, would resolve this trade dispute by regulating online USA betting and creating a level playing field among domestic and foreign Internet betting operators.

“The European Commission report provides yet another reason why the administration and Congress should support pending legislation to regulate Internet betting, which would resolve the trade agreement violation and better protect consumers” said Jeffrey Sandman, spokesperson for the Safe and Secure Internet betting Initiative. “The Obama Administration should seek to forge a new direction on Internet betting, rather than keeping in place a protectionist trade policy that hypocritically discriminates against foreign online betting operators.”

The European Commission report, instigated by a Trade Barrier Regulation complaint filed by the Remote betting Association (RGA), concludes that the treatment of foreign Internet betting operators by the U.S. under existing domestic law constitutes a barrier to market access for European companies. Further, the report found that the U.S. is in violation of international trade law by threatening and pursuing criminal prosecutions, forfeitures and other enforcement actions against foreign Internet betting operators, while allowing U.S. online betting operators, primarily horse betting, to flourish.

The report claims resolving the trade dispute through a negotiated solution with the Obama Administration. If the parties cannot settle the matter themselves, the Commission could bring a case against the U.S. to the WTO.

Rep. Frank’s legislation would establish a licensing and enforcement framework to permit licensed betting operators to accept wagers from individuals in the U.S. The legislation also mandates a number of significant consumer protections including safeguards against compulsive and underage betting, money laundering, fraud and identify theft.

An additional piece of legislation to Rep. Frank’s bill introduced by Rep. Jim McDermott, the Internet betting Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act, would ensure the collection of taxes on regulated Internet betting activities. According to a tax revenue analysis, regulated Internet betting would allow the U.S. to capture much-needed revenue in an amount ranging from $48.6 billion to $62.7 billion over the next decade. Without this legislation, this revenue will remain uncollected while millions of Americans gamble online without consumer protections.

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