Antigua Minister Speaks Out for Online Casino Sites
Antigua’s Minister of Finance and the Economy, Dr Errol Cort, has spoken out in support of comments made by WTO ambassador John Ashe concerning the country’s online casino industry. At a meeting held recently at the WTO, Ashe criticized the U.S. government for failing to respond in a timely manner to a WTO ruling seeking clarification on the country’s policy toward online casino sites. In his speech, Ashe drew comparisons between the booming U.S. economy and the struggling nation of Antigua, claiming the time was ripe for the U.S. government to demonstrate its faith in WTO treaties and shed light on its reason for discriminating against online casino sites based in Antigua.
The U.S. has argued that the ban on online casino sites is an attempt to uphold standards of morality. However, the last WTO ruling stated that the U.S. must bring its own exceptions to this policy into line if the morality explanation is to prevail. Currently a blind eye is turned to local horse-betting online, while the online casino industry is banned. Antigua has stated that the double standard practiced by the U.S. government is discriminatory against Antigua’s online casino sites, thereby violating several treaties both countries have signed with the WTO.
Dr Cort has added his voice to Ambassador Ashe’s and several operators of online casino sites, stating that Antigua’s government is waiting for the U.S. to inform the WTO exactly how it intends to comply fully with its recommendations. Cort also pointed out that the period given to the U.S. to provide information on their online casino policy expires on 3 April 2006.