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Utah Says No To Online Gambling

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Dec/28/2008
Utah

The state of Utah doesn't even have a lottery let alone statewide casinos.  But with a failing economy, those within Utah fear that online gambling could be adopted as a way of boosting the state's financial welfare.    Add to the fact that Utah is now the fastest growing state.  With that comes plenty of outside influences.

Worried that national and international deals could force Utah's hand to accept online gambling, state lawmakers are pushing a resolution that urges Congress to ensure all bets are off in the Beehive State, Cathy McKitrick of the Salt Lake City Tribune reports.

"Talks for the next round are in limbo," Rep Sheryl Allen, R-Bountiful, said of World Trade Organization negotiations in 2009. "It's very important that states give input and get involved before agreements get signed by 153 countries."

Allen's efforts would continue to make gambling illegal in all forms, not just via the Internet. 

"Many see gambling as a moral issue," Allen said. "But I'm looking at it as a states' rights issue."

Utah and Hawaii are the only U.S. states with zero tolerance for gambling. Most states allow it with certain restrictions.

In 1994, the United States inadvertently approved internet gambling by signing on to the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). The pastime falls under "other recreational services."

Utah could also be under pressure following a World Trade Organization decision ruling against the United States in a trade dispute filed by the Caribbean online gambling haven of Antigua.  That tiny nation argued that the US was engaging in "protectionism" of its own gambling industry.  In this sense, Utah may have a case against legalizing online gambling.

In mid-2005, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff teamed with 28 other state A.G.s to urge the U.S. trade representative to stand up for states' rights.

"Antigua has no business trying to write Utah's gambling laws," Shurtleff wrote in a 2005 release.

To date, the US has ignored the WTO decision.  It remains unclear whether a new administration and spiraling economy will change this stance.

Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

 

 

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