The United States and European Union struck a new trade agreement Dec. 18 that will greatly lessen the fight over offshore Internet gambling.
The United States will no longer have to open itself to foreign providers of betting services, a move the National Thoroughbred Racing Association said will strengthen the online pari-mutuel industry.
As Thoroughbreds from around the world made their final preparations for the Dec. 11 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Races, international eyes also were focused on the World Trade Organization ministerial conference set to begin in downtown Hong Kong two days later.
There are many scenarios for how the United States government will respond to the World Trade Organization's April ruling in which U.S. laws on remote gambling were considered in violation of WTO commitments based on a dispute between the U.S. and Antigua over cross-boarder betting.
The pari-mutuel industry, which has hired legal specialists to deal with the ramifications of a recent World Trade Organization ruling, must now deal with the reincarnation of legislation to effectively ban Internet gambling by making financial transactions illegal.
A World Trade Organization report released April 7 upholds the position of the United States to protect itself from illegal Internet gambling but also calls into question the fairness of the Interstate Horseracing Act.
European horse buyers will have to begin paying a 5% excise tax on horses they purchase and bring home from the United States as a result of sanctions imposed against the U.S. on Monday by the European Union.
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