Caribbean nation pushing for talks with U.S. over Internet gambling restrictions

21 June 2006

ThoroughbredTimes.com

In a document made public on Tuesday, the twin island Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda pressed for discussions with the United States over its restrictions on Internet gambling.

The U.S. did not meet an April 3 deadline to comply with a 2004 World Trade Organization ruling that found the U.S. failed to show the Interstate Horse Racing Act of 1978, which allows wagering on horse racing via phone or other electronic means, was applied equally to foreign and remote betting operations. The law is limited to states where such wagering is allowed and excludes foreign operators, which is contrary to global trade regulations.

Antigua and Barbuda wants to boost its online gambling industry to offset its declining tourism industry. The nation’s overture toward the U.S. is a move toward establishing a WTO panel to investigate whether the U.S. is violating international trade rules, the Associated Press reports. If no solution is reached within 15-day period, then a WTO panel would report on U.S. compliance within 90 days. Either side could appeal the subsequent decision.

“Antigua and Barbuda considers that the United States has taken no measures to comply with the recommendations and the rulings,” a statement from Antigua and Barbuda said.

The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, sponsored by Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia), passed out of the House Judiciary Committee in April 2000. The bill, which would expand and modernize the prohibition against interstate gambling, contains an exemption for horse racing.—M.L.

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