ADVERTISEMENT

EU probes US online gambling crackdown

EU

The European Union launched an investigation on Monday into whether US prosecutions of foreign online gambling companies were discriminatory, possibly paving the way for action at the World Trade Organization.

European online gambling companies, such as PartyGaming and bwin Interactive Entertainment, complained in December, that the US Justice Department crackdown had singled out foreign companies. “The US has the right to address legitimate public policy concerns relating to Internet gambling, but discrimination against EU companies cannot be part of the policy mix,” EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said in a statement. The Commission said, it would look into the complaints over the next five to seven months and could launch WTO proceedings against the United States.

The US came into dispute with the EU and other countries after it withdrew its WTO commitments to open up its gambling markets to foreign companies, then introduced measures in 2006 to cut off that access. The measures wiped billions of euros off the stock market value of the European sector. The European Commission agreed in December to a US offer of openings in other sectors as compensation for the measures. But the US Department of Justice is still investigating the activities of EU companies, before the measures were introduced. As part of a US crackdown on Internet gambling, two founders of payments processor NETeller Plc were arrested last year, while BETonSPORTS pleaded guilty to US racketeering charges and agreed to cooperate in a case against the company’s founder and other co-defendants.

Clive Hawkswood, chief executive of Europe’s Remote Gambling Association, welcomed Monday’s announcement by the Commission and said companies hurt by the US market closure were suffering a “double whammy” of being prosecuted, while US rivals were not. “By any analysis, the US policy is fundamentally unfair, and we are delighted that the Commission shares our concern and alarm,” he said in a statement. “The US simply needs to end its discriminatory prosecution of EU companies and their shareholders who have, after all, been out of the US market for almost two years now.” (Reuters)

ADVERTISEMENT

Regional income disparities remain pronounced Analysis

Regional income disparities remain pronounced

Parliament approves amendment to Competition Act Parliament

Parliament approves amendment to Competition Act

New CEO announced at Codic Hungary Appointments

New CEO announced at Codic Hungary

FAO–Food Bank convoy delivers food to those in need City

FAO–Food Bank convoy delivers food to those in need

SUPPORT THE BUDAPEST BUSINESS JOURNAL

Producing journalism that is worthy of the name is a costly business. For 27 years, the publishers, editors and reporters of the Budapest Business Journal have striven to bring you business news that works, information that you can trust, that is factual, accurate and presented without fear or favor.
Newspaper organizations across the globe have struggled to find a business model that allows them to continue to excel, without compromising their ability to perform. Most recently, some have experimented with the idea of involving their most important stakeholders, their readers.
We would like to offer that same opportunity to our readers. We would like to invite you to help us deliver the quality business journalism you require. Hit our Support the BBJ button and you can choose the how much and how often you send us your contributions.