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U.S. Reaffirms Ban on Online Gambling
By DIBYA SARKAR 05.04.07, 2:23 PM ET
The United States will use a World Trade Organization procedure to clarify its ban on online gambling, a U.S. trade representative said Friday.
A measure signed into law by President Bush in October prohibits U.S. banks and credit card companies from processing payments to online gambling businesses outside the United States, taking many of these companies by surprise.
In March, a WTO panel opened the door to possible commercial sanctions against the United States when it ruled that the law as written unfairly targets offshore casinos. The twin Caribbean island nation of Antigua and Barbuda has argued that online gambling provides income for hundreds of its citizens.
The Geneva-based global trade referee said Washington can maintain restrictions on online gambling, so long as its laws are equally applied to U.S. operators offering remote betting on horse racing.
On Friday, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative John K. Veroneau said that because federal and state laws have prevented domestic companies from profiting off of interstate gambling for decades "it would be nonsensical for the U.S. to make a commitment to open up interstate gambling for foreign providers."
Veroneau said the WTO process would allow the United States to clarify its stance on the issue so that there would be no basis for any WTO member to seek or expect compensation.
The ban on Internet gambling enacted last fall, which prompted companies such as Sportingbet PLC and Leisure & Gaming PLC to sell their U.S. operations, would be overturned under legislation proposed last month by Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass. The bill faces long odds in Congress and likely opposition from the Bush administration.
The $12 billion Internet gambling industry is based outside the United States, mostly in Britain, although half of its customers live in America.
What the hell does "the WTO process would allow the United States to clarify its stance on the issue so that there would be no basis for any WTO member to seek or expect compensation" mean?
I guess this means that the US will recast it's position and the whole dispute will start over again.
I'm working on a large scale portal right now that would hugely benefit from gambling ads so this does suck. Even the nature of the beast is changing... 888.com for example seems to have done away with revenue share altogether and brought payment per new depositor roughly in line with say what one gets for promoting web hosting, etc. I guess the fat lady is really singing on the cushy existance of independent online gambling promoters. I expect a lot of places to follow suit in an attempt to recoup revenues at the expense of webmasters. What say the other webmasters here? Surviving or packing it in?