World Response to US Online Casino
Perhaps the American authorities have thought about all the consequences of the ban it laid over the online casino industry. First was the great exodus of online casino operations, which saw billions of dollars leave the shores of the United States. Then came the ensuing decline in the volume of gambling at online casino sites, such as the one highly visible these very days, with sports betting over the Superbowl game down from the billions it has usually averaged in the past years. But legal and international consequences are also at the door, and might force the US to finally face the situation tey have single-handedly brought about.
Problems this time come not from the business angle or the gamblers’ perspective, but rather from the international trade point of view. The small island of Antigua in the Caribbean has filed a complaint to the World Trade Organization, claiming the US ban on online casino sites is in essence a protectionist law that keeps off any online casino operations from foreign countries, Antigua included, and protects the American based casinos. With a favorable interim decision made by the WTO commission that is debating the issue on grounds of fair international trade, the scales may have turned against the US.
If in fact the final decision will be that the ban is unilateral, and as such unfair to other countries, Antigua may not have the economic power to retaliate against the US in other fields of trade. But watching closely the developments as they occur is the European Union. If the decision stands, the EU may too file a complaint and win the same rights of retaliating against the unfair trade practices by the US. With an online casino industry worth protecting and an economy that can comfortably compete with that of the US, the stick they hold is much greater than the one in Antigua’s hand. As they wait and see, so do we.