E.U. Condemns America's Online Gambling Crackdown

Yesterday, in response to a complaint from the Remote Gambling Association, the European Commission (the E.U.'s executive body) issued a report concluding that American policy regarding online betting violates international trade commitments by discriminating against foreign companies. Gambling website operators want the E.U. to ask the World Trade Organization for $100 billion in U.S. concessions to compensate for their lost revenue. For now the E.U. is inclined to work things out through negotiations, hoping the Obama administration will be more flexible in this area than the Bush administration was.

So far there's little sign of that. As Radley Balko noted yesterday, the Justice Department recently seized or froze $34 million belonging to American poker players because it was in accounts managed by a company that handles payments for poker websites. Online gambling companies are pushing Barney Frank's Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act as a way of settling the burgeoning trade dispute (although gambling law expert I. Nelson Rose argues that the bill's provisions regarding back taxes will have a protectionist impact). I discussed the trade implications of the U.S. government's online gambling crackdown in "Some Bets Are Off," a 2008 Reason article.

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  • AlanS||

    The government just wants to tax and regulate these gambling estabishmnents, and they can't. Why else would they seize money from those participating.

  • Gimlet||

    A tangental issue:

    I live in the Midwest. I renewed my anti-virus subscription (Symantec), which is based in California, online. I had to pay sales tax (California, I believe). How can that be?

  • Mike M.||

    The states have been pushing for internet sales taxes for years, and it looks like they're finally getting their wish, which is not surprising when you look at their finances.

    This is what happens when you give the Democrats total control over the government. Elections really do have consequences.

  • ||

    AlanS,

    They haven't seized the money, it's just frozen. The government isn't getting any money from this action (at least not directly).

  • ||


    Gambling website operators want the E.U. to ask the World Trade Organization for $100 billion in U.S. concessions to compensate for their lost revenue.



    Now THAT is a raise!

  • dfd||

    They haven't seized the money, it's just frozen. The government isn't getting any money from this action (at least not directly).

    Heh. That's funny Tulpa. It's just frozen, not seized!

    What odds would you give that the owners of said money ever see it again? And what odds would you give that said money ends up in the government's coffers at some point in the very near future? Of course maybe we shouldn't make this bet over the internet...

  • ||

    This isn't about taxes or the states. It's entirely the work of the Focus On The Family War On Poker.

    This is the reason I, and 144,000 other PPA members voted for Obama. If he doesn't stop this he will lose our 144,000 votes in his next election. 144,000 votes may not be many in his eyes but we do contribute to campaigns and we contributed to him heavily in the last election. We'll see how he does without our contributions in 2012.

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