European Commission, Directorate-General for Trade, "Report to the Trade Barriers Regulation Committee," Brussels, 6-10-2009. http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2009/june/tradoc_143405.pdf
The 2006 UIGEA not only scared American companies from facilitating gambling online by US citizens, but it also sent international shockwaves in the gambling industry. Specifically, European companies were forced out of the US market but “still suffer legal proceedings by US authorities based on their past activities on the US market.”
The report published June 10, 2009 by the European Commission is the result of a formal examination procedure filed in 2008 following the complaint lodged by the Remote Gambling Association. The report “concludes that US laws deny access and discriminate against foreign suppliers of gambling and betting services inconsistently with US WTO obligations.” In response, the US is trying to withdraw from the trade obligations, but has been unable to formally do so. However, as the report notes, “a withdrawal only affects future access to the market, but does not allow the US to disregard its obligations in respect of past activities.” These past activities affect “revenue and stock market value lost by affected companies.” One of the fundamental reasons why this dispute is taking place, is indeed the fault of the US government for not clearly defining their laws, namely in the ambiguous Wire Act. As outlined by the Commission, “EU companies thought that it was legally possible to supply Internet gambling services in the US, given the lack of clarity of the domestic legal framework.” As a result, even though the European companies began withdrawing in 2006 as a response to UIGEA, the US pursued these companies for their pre-2006 activities in a discriminatory fashion.
“Internet gambling is a complex and delicate area, and we do not want to dictate how the US should regulate its market,” said EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton. “However, the US must respect its WTO obligations. I hope that we will be able to reach an amicable solution to this issue.”