Lawmakers Urge U.S. Stop Action vs EU Gambling Firms

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Reuters is reporting Two U.S. lawmakers, Rep. Robert Wexler, a Florida Democrat, and Rep. Steve Cohen, a Tennessee Democrat, have urged the U.S. Justice Department to suspend its investigation of European Internet gambling companies for possible criminal violations that occurred before Congress passed a law in 2006 to crack down on online gambling.

The two lawmakers warned U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey in separate letters the issue could lead to a potentially damaging trade spat between the United States and the European Union at the World Trade Organization.

“In all likelihood, this issue will escalate and I understand could result in WTO action focused specifically on how the U.S. government enforces its laws. I cannot see how that can be in the interests of this country,” Wexler said in a letter to Mukasey on Wednesday.

European Internet gambling companies lost billions of euros in market value after Congress moved to shut down the U.S. market (UIGEA) by making it illegal for banks and credit card companies to make payments to online gambling sites.