Outrageous attorneys general

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The Interactive Gaming Council, a leading trade association for the international interactive gambling industry, believes that the letter from the attorneys general to the US Trade Representative demonstrates a failure to understand and appreciate the workings of international trade agreements as well as basic concepts of “globalization” and fair play.

“It’s outrageous to suggest that after a ruling that it doesn’t like, the US would just say ‘Oh, never mind. We’re no longer including this subject in the deal.’ The US, its states and its companies, has received great benefits from other WTO rulings. Suppose the losing sides in those cases just decided to retroactively exclude products such as steel or services such as banking from their commitments under the trade treaties,” said Rick Smith, executive director of the IGC.

“And to retroactively attempt to re-negotiate a complex treaty (GATS, the General Agreement on Trade in Services) because the US doesn’t like a ruling under the treaty is as impractical as it is unfair. International treaties require accountability and give and take. No country can expect to win every case,” he added.

“The IGC was not completely satisfied with the WTO’s ruling on the Antigua complaint, but at least the WTO established that the GATS includes a commitment to free trade in gambling and betting services, and it further concluded that the US violates GATS by permitting ‘remote betting services for horse racing’ only for domestic suppliers and not for foreign suppliers of such services,” said Keith Furlong, deputy director of the IGC.

“We wish state and federal officials in the US would stop fighting both the international community and reality and start working constructively on regulating online gambling, just as they regulate land-based gambling. Other countries, including the United Kingdom, recognize that the logical way forward is to regulate online gambling.”

“Utah and Hawaii may not have legal gambling, but the rest of the US does. It’s absurd that a country that has a multi-billion-dollar gambling industry continues to put its head in the sand and hope that Internet gambling will disappear.”

“Progress will come when the US affirms the rights of its states to regulate gambling. That means the rights of states to license and regulate Internet gambling, as well as the rights of states like Utah to attempt to ban all forms of gambling.”