US Refuses to Provide Clarification
As we reported earlier this month, the European Commission had submitted a list with several questions to US officials concerning the conscious discrimination of European businesses.
This alleged discrimination was done on the basis of the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which made it illegal for credit card companies to process online gambling transactions.
Now, the dispute between Europe and the US seems to continue as Susan Schwab, the US Trade Representative, stated that there was "no basis for any allegation of discriminatory enforcement of US gambling laws." According to her the Commission's list of questions was based on false conjectures since the UIEGA did not change which gambling activities were to be legal or illegal. Enforcing the US law was certainly not done on the basis of nationality, the Representative added.
Numerous online providers have left the US market due to the introduction of the UIGEA, yet the US Department of Justice is still going after UK-based companies like PartyGaming, Sportingbet and 888 holdings, for violations of the US gambling laws. European banks that advised these companies have received subpoenas and requests for settlements from the White House.
This whole affair could get out of hand when next month the European Union Trade Commissioner, Peter Mandelson, leads a European delegation to the White House to discuss the issue and to hold a press conference.