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U.S. To Keep Internet Gambling Ban

The United States will maintain a ban on Internet gambling services despite an adverse World Trade Organization ruling, meaning other WTO members can seek potential damages at the WTO. Deputy U.S. Trade Representative John Veroneau said the United States did not believe there was any basis for other countries to receive compensation. Even though U.S. law has banned interstate gambling for decades, the United States failed to make clear its commitments "did not extend to gambling," Veroneau said. Having exhausted other options to fight the case, the United States will exercise a rarely used right under WTO rules to modify its 14-year-old services commitments and explicitly exclude gambling, Veroneau said.

A WTO decision in March said the United States had failed to comply with an April 2005 ruling against a portion of its ban having to do with online gambling on horse racing. In fact, the U.S. Congress moved in the opposite direction last year and passed additional legislation to ban online gambling by making it illegal for banks and credit card companies to make payments to online gambling sites. The United States believes it should not have to pay compensation because countries did not bargain for access to the U.S. gambling market as part of world trade talks in the early 1990s, Veroneau said. Also, the long-standing U.S. ban on interstate gambling makes it "nonsensical" for countries to believe the United States was opening that market, even though it did not explicitly say that it was not, Veroneau said.

News source: InformationWeek

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