The Us to Face Sanctions for Online Gaming Ban

22 December 2007


The US to face sanctions for Online Gaming Ban 
The small island of Antigua was hoping they could rely on online betting and less on tourism.
The World Trade Organization has ruled, US faces $21m (£10.6m) in annual trade sanctions as a result of its online betting ban. 
The Islands of Antigua and Barbuda were awarded the right to impose sanctions targeting US services, copyrights and trademarks.

The Laws that was passed in the US on October 2006 effectively made it illegal for foreign internet gaming firms to trade in the US.

Then in March the trade body made a final ruling saying that the US online betting ban was illegal.
The hope of Antigua was to impose $3.4bn in retaliatory measures against the US. The amount awarded was described as a token gesture given the massive size the economy of the US.

US stated, that Antigua’s claim was to great as it was more than three times the size of Antigua’s entire economy.

Sean Spicer, spokesperson for U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab, stated The United States is pleased that the sum arrived at by the arbitrator is over 100 times lower than Antigua’s claim.

Antigua, is a former British colony of about 800,000 people, had been promoting electronic commerce as way to end the reliance on tourism. Tourism was hurt by a series of hurricanes in the late 1990s.

Piracy risk

In the WTO’s 12 year history, The Caribbean nation is the smallest country to litigate a case successfully.

This case had drawn the attention of US industry because Antigua threatened to target US trademarks and copyright, which could make the nation a haven for intellectual property piracy.

The US stated, this ruling could establish a harmful precedent for a WTO member to affirmatively authorize what would otherwise be considered acts of piracy, counterfeiting or other forms of … infringement.

Antigua and the US cannot appeal against Friday’s decision.

The lawyer, Mark Mendel who led the case for Antigua, stated that the country was unlikely to violate US copyrights.

Antigua does not want to negate American intellectual property rights. They do not want to sell — DVDs and copies of Microsoft Office.

Unequal laws

The US stopping US banks and credit card companies from processing payments to online gambling,  it the country, it effectively killed off the market for overseas gambling firms.

The market is estimated to be worth $15.5bn since about half of the world’s online gamblers are based in the US.

The WTO ruling said the US was breaking trade law by targeting online gambling firms, without equal application of the rules to US firms offering online betting on horse and dog racing.

The EU earlier this week stated, the US would offer its member countries trade concessions as compensation for its refusal to lift internet gambling laws.