At a seminar organized by the Institute of Economic Affairs in London, a Harvard professor will be speaking today (Tuesday) about the highly controversial discriminatory US ban on Internet gambling and related financial transactions. The speaker, Professor Charles Nesson, will be discussing the implications that the results of the UIGEA legislation has for free trade and Internet freedom.
 
Professor Nesson, a tenured faculty member at Harvard for more than thirty years and the founder of the Global Poker Strategic Thinking Society (GPSTS,) will be joined at the London seminar by Dr. Sallie James, a policy analyst at the Centre for Trade Policy Studies and the Cato Institute. Also joining these professors will be Lode Van Den Hende, a Senior Associate of Herbert Smith LLP which is based in Brussels and specializes in EU competition and regulation. The seminar will be chaired by John Blundell who is the Director General and Ralph Harris Fellow of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA.)

The seminar itself is being called, “The Bush Administration’s Criminalisation of Online gaming and the Implication for Global Free Trade,” and it will be sponsored by the IEA,one of the oldest and most renowned British think tanks. They strongly advocate the ideals of free trade and classic liberal policies.

Many poker players around the world have been following this complicated issue, especially those within the United States who are now officially banned from playing online poker due to the discriminatory legislation. The WTO dispute has taken an interesting turn now that a Trade Barrier Regulation complaint has now been failed against the US by the Remote Gambling Association, Europe’s leading trade association of online gaming operators.

The European Commission has until February 29 to respond to the complaint, which alleges that the U.S. protects domestic online operators while prohibiting non-U.S. operators.
 
Professor Nesson said: "The conflict between the U.S. government and the online community over online poker and other forms of betting will not go away. There is growing concern about its impact on global trade, domestic U.S. law, and Internet freedom and regulation."

Some of the topics seminar speakers will address are:
 
The complaint filed by the Remote Gambling Association in December 2007 with the European Commission against the U.S. for discrimination based on violations of W.T.O. rules, asserting that the U.S. Department of Justice is in violation of international law by threatening and pressing criminal prosecutions and other actions against foreign online gaming operators while allowing domestic U.S. gaming operators to flourish.
 
The implications for the global trade system, should an affirmative finding for Europe be produced by February 29, 2008 deadline.
 
The potential for Costa Rica's January 28, 2008 filing for W.T.O. arbitration against the U.S. to upset the agreement between the U.S. and the E.U.

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