European Union Investigating U.S. Gambling Laws

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) — The European Union is looking into whether U.S. Internet gambling laws run counter to world trade rules.

European-based betting companies complain that the U.S. laws unfairly keep them out of the multibillion dollar American online market while allowing domestic gambling companies, especially those offering betting on horse racing, to flourish.

European Trade commissioner Peter Mandelson says the U.S. has the right to address concerns about Internet gambling, but not to the point that it discriminates against European companies.

The investigation could lead the European Union to file a complaint with the World Trade organization.

In 2006, the WTO ruled against a ban that blocked U.S. banks and credit card companies from processing payments to online gambling companies outside the country.