Antigua Takes UIGEA Campaign to the Next Stage
The nation of Antigua and Barbuda is not over with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act just yet. Antigua and Barbuda believes that international companies are discriminated by the anti online casino law posed by the United States and has even filled a complaint against the United States with the World Trade Organization. The WTO agreed with Antigua and Barbuda and ruled in against the United States, however, that wasn’t enough. Currently, the United States is working on changing its obligations and removing online gambling from the WTO’s jurisdiction. Antigua now takes that battle to the next step.
The country has decided to target American trademarks, copyrights and telecommunications companies. Antigua is calling other members of the World Trade Organization to join them in their fight against the American internet gambling ban. John Ashe, the Ambassador of Antigua, was quoted: “Not only do we think that members should press claims for compensatory adjustments as a matter of economic self-interest, but we also believe it is important that the process is made as difficult as possible for the United States. Maybe we’ll target telecoms. Intellectual property rights — that’s a way we can possibly fight back.” It seems as if Antigua won’t let the issue fly that easily for the United States.
All in all, Antigua has a point. Gambling is legal in the United States, and there are millions of dollars in the American gambling industry. By banning firms from offering online casino gambling to American citizens, the United States has transformed the gambling industry into a strictly local market – against it’s international trade agreements. The United States rather change it’s international agreements then it’s stand towards online gambling, and that will surely upset other members of the World Trade Organization. Antigua’s case against the United States could have serious implication for America. If the European Union realizes that the U.S. is keeping some of the its markets restricted to international firms, it might take the same approach and protect it’s interests. Hopefully, this pressure will persuade the administration to rethink the UIGEA.