Antigua Urges Compliance on Online Casino Ruling
Following the World Trade Organization’s ruling in favor of Antigua against U.S policies toward the online casinos industry come accusations that the U.S. government is delaying its implementation. While the U.S. states the deadline for compliance is still two months away, pro-gambling lobbyists remain concerned that the U.S. is doing little to change its traditional stance against online casino firms. In April 2005 the WTO ruled that U.S. government policies are discriminatory toward Antigua’s economic interests in the online casino industry, and urged the U.S. to comply with the fair trade policies it subscribes to.
More recently, Antigua’s representative to the WTO, John Ashe, has written to the U.S. Trade Representative, expressing concern about a further two new legislative proposals aimed at creating further restrictions on online casino gambling in the U.S. In his correspondence, Ashe expressed the opinion that ‘each of the bills is in key respects expressly contrary to the rulings and the recommendations of the Dispute Settlement Body of the World Trade Organization.’ A spokeswoman for the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office, Neena Moorjani, responded by advising that the U.S. is investigating different options in order to clarify its policies toward online casino operators to the WTO. Moorjani also noted that the time period for compliance on the online casino issue has not yet expired.
Antigua and Barbuda first opened their doors to the online casino industry in an attempt to alleviate decreasing revenues from tourism. In the case brought to the WTO, the island nation stated that its 67,000 inhabitants depend on online casino operators for their income and that U.S. policies prohibiting online gambling are discriminatory in nature.