US settling WTO compensation claims for online casino gambling laws violation
The tiny island of Antigua kept the world holding its breath for weeks to see if a country so small could influence a world power so big. Battling the American laws banning online casino gambling, which they claimed were discriminatory and violating of the WTO trade agreement, Antigua is today only the second country of its size to successfully litigate a WTO case. The outcome, however, was acceptable for both sides, as officials have explained.
US$21 million was awarded to Antigua regarding the online gambling case, which despite being about 100 times less than the $3.4 billion that was requested in annual damages, was significantly more than the initial $500,000 that was offered by the US. According to a US trade representative, “the United States is pleased that the figure arrived at by the arbitrator is over 100 times lower than Antigua’s claim. Because the United States is already taking steps to bring itself into compliance by clarifying its WTO commitments with respect to online casino gambling, the Arbitrator’s award issued today is not paramount”.
In addition, the case represents a landmark victory for Antigua and the online casino industry, as the first ever WTO country to have defeated the US – its largest member, and also the first time in history that the US has withdrawn from a GATS commitment – and in online casino gambling of all fields.
The case has opened up doors for compensation claims also regarding the violated online casino gambling laws for WTO trading partners, and the US has already settled several online casino gambling compensation disputes with Canada, Japan, the European Union, and many more.