Antigua to Question US Gambling Restrictions
Antigua has decided to bring in the international community in helping to solve the potential crisis between itself and the United States over online gambling. The county has asked for consultations with Washington over the US restrictions on online gambling and will further demand that a WTO panel investigate whether the restrictive laws actually comply with international trade laws. Antigua asked the US to set a date for talks within two weeks, from the 8th June.
If no solution to the disagreement over online gambling laws, then a WTO panel will be set up in order to investigate the US compliance with laws. This committee would be set up within 90 days and both parties have an opportunity of appealing this procedure. The dispute centers on whether the American government should drop restrictions on Americans placing bets in online gambling sites. A previous WTO decision said that some U.S. laws were in line with international commerce rules, but others were not. Antigua and Barbuda, where dozens of online gambling sites are headquartered, have insisted that the United States has taken no measures to comply with the recommendations and rulings.
The U.S. argues that online gambling should be restricted because it contravenes some U.S. state laws, and told the WTO’s dispute settlement body in April that it felt that its laws were in line with trade rules. Antigua has in turn stated that the offshore industry is a rewarding source of revenue and affords an income for hundreds of islanders. It says that the continued ban against online gambling in America is hurting the island’s attempt to move away from tourism.