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Time To Fold On Internet Gambling Says Wsj
Barney Frank may be on to something by introduced a bill to regulate online gambling, says US business journal.
The internationally respected US business and financial publication the Wall Street Journal appears to approve of the idea of regulated and licensed online gambling in an op-ed article this week, observing that Congressman Barney Frank's Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act proposal could resolve several problems now facing the US as a consequence of its anti-online gambling legislative policy.
The journal summarised the various problems confronting US enforcement and banking authorities as a result of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act introduced in October 2006, and the consequences it has generated in terms of World Trade Organisation actions against the United States, and difficulties in implementation being experienced by the authorities and the American financial industry.
"For a change, the Europeans stand on the side of free trade, while America dabbles in regulatory overreach," the article observes, going on to describe the international litigation against the USA, notably by the European Union on grounds that US policy discriminates against European companies unfairly.
"Brussels is making a narrow legal point that Washington discriminates against Europeans by simultaneously permitting U.S. Internet horse betting. That's against World Trade Organization rules," the article comments before describing previous US defeats in the WTO at the hands of Antigua and Barbuda in its long-running dispute over Internet gambling restrictions.
"Washington could have stood down then. Instead, it is 'threatening and pressing criminal prosecutions, forfeitures and other enforcement actions against foreign online gaming operators,' according to the London-based Remote Gambling Association, which took the complaint to the EU," the WSJ report continues.
"In doing so, Washington is also practicing a form of universal jurisdiction by applying domestic law to foreigners beyond its borders – a legal interpretation that the U.S. has, rightly, condemned in other cases," it reports, pointing to the arrest and detention of Brit businessman Peter Dicks (see previous InfoPowa reports)
The article covers submissions by financial industry experts at the Congressional hearing on the UIGEA last week that the US ban is impractical, difficult in implementation and lays the burden of policing and enforcing on an already stretched financial services industry.
"We have our differences with House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, but he may have been on to something when he introduced a bill to exempt licensed operators from the ban," the WSJ concludes.
"Gambling is a vice, and social problems attach themselves to it. By legalizing and regulating the business, however, Washington could more effectively battle such problems as underage gambling and addiction. It would also avoid unnecessary trade tiffs with its leading commercial partners. And it would exempt cyberspace from overaggressive regulators, in America or anywhere else."
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