EU Trade Complaint May be W.T.O. Bound

19 February 2009
With the backing of the European Commission, European online gambling operators may have a case against the United States for its so-called selective prosecution practices, but Europe's external trade commissioner would like first to try reaching a settlement through other means.

After investigating a complaint filed in December 2007 by the Remote Gambling Association, or RGA, the commission is reportedly expected to recommend the case to the World Trade Organization.

However, Catherine Ashton, external market commissioner for the European Union, would like to find a solution directly with the new United States trade representative, Reuters reported Thursday.

But Ron Kirk, President Barack Obama's nominee for the position, has not yet been confirmed, nor has a deputy trade representative or office spokesperson been appointed.

Ms. Ashton's office could only confirm that the case was ongoing.

"We have not reached a definitive view on the case, and we will continue to pursue all avenues to resolve it satisfactorily," Peter Power, a spokesman for Ms.Ashton, told IGamingNews Thursday.

The case has been under investigation since March 2008, and a draft report has been cleared within the External Trade Department and is circulating throughout other commission services for consultation, Clive Hawkswood, chief executive of the RGA, told IGamingNews Thursday.

"I believe it will find in our favor," Mr. Hawkswood said.

The commission is expected to deliver its final report to the trade representative's office next month.

Emily Swoboda is the senior staff writer at IGamingNews. She lives in St. Louis, Mo.