The US Could Lose To the WTO and Antigua In It's Stand Against Online Gambling

26 April 2007


Financial Post Part of the Network
Sallie James, Financial Post
Thursday, April 26, 2007

‘On March 30, a World Trade Organization tribunal handed down a potentially significant finding against U.S. restrictions on Internet gambling. The smart money now thinks that online betting could soon be liberated.

The panel was set up at the request of Antigua and Barbuda, who complained that the United States had not complied with the WTO’s earlier decision that it must change the way it regulates gambling over the Internet… ‘

‘The United States Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in October, 2006, ostensibly to bring its laws into conformity with the April, 2005, ruling. But the compliance panel ruled that the United States has taken no satisfactory remedial action that would bring its laws into conformity with its previously established obligations. Moreover, it appears that the United States applies its laws in a discriminatory manner, by prosecuting foreign gambling entities more than it does U.S. gaming firms. Game, set and match: Antigua and Barbuda.’

‘There is still no official word from the USTR about whether the United States will appeal this latest decision. If they do not, though, the United States would need to change its federal law either by closing the loopholes allowing domestic online gambling, or by freely allowing gambling online without any restrictions.’

‘Of course, the United States could also choose to ignore the ruling, although it has a good record of complying with previous rulings against it… ‘


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