Move to end US ban on online gambling - Friday 29th of May 2009

Gaming companies from PartyGaming to 888 will hope their luck finally turns this week as a law is proposed in the US aimed at overturning the countrys ban on online gambling.

Barney Frank, the chairman of the US House of Representatives Financial Services Committee, has pledged to promote a Bill to overturn the ban which was introduced by the Republican party under George W Bush. The proposal could signal a change of fortunes for UK online gaming firms which lost billions of pounds in market value after the US Congress made it illegal for banks and credit card companies to make payments to online gambling sites in 2006.

The Bills introduction could lead to the return of UK gaming companies to the US and is expected to help to start consolidation in the online industry.

The European Commission ruled last month that the crackdown on European online gaming companies had violated World Trade Organisation rules. Party-gaming earlier this month struck a long-awaited $105m (£70.5m) settlement with US authorities in a move that frees the company from the risk of prosecution. Rival gaming companies are expected to follow suit.

US gambling experts said that the chances of Congressman Frank being able to overturn the national ban were slim, arguing that state-level moves to free up regulations faced a better chance of success.

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