Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Gambling - WTO dispute

EU accepts US compensation deal in online gambling row

BRUSSELS (Thomson Financial) - The European Commission says it has accepted a US offer for trade compensation to make up for the losses incurred by EU firms as a result of US-imposed curbs on Internet gambling.

The 'compensation package' foresees US openings in other sectors as compensation for closing its gambling market to foreign firms.

'A bilateral agreement was signed in Geneva, which provides EU service suppliers with new trade opportunities in the US postal and courier, research and development, storage and warehouse sectors,' the commission said in a statement.

The case dates to 2005, when the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruled that a US law allowing only domestic companies to provide online horse-race gambling services discriminated against foreign companies.

Washington announced in May it was retroactively excluding gambling services from market-opening commitments it made as part of a 1994 world trade deal -- a move that is possible under WTO rules providing other countries receive compensation.

The announcement kicked off compensation talks with the EU and other countries including Japan and India.

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