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Most Recent Online Casino News

U.S. Online Betting Ban Challenged

The World Trade Organization issued a preliminary ruling involving a trade dispute between the U.S. and the Caribbean islands of Antigua and Barbuda. The complaint — which was brought last year by Antigua and Barbuda — says U.S. restrictions on Internet gambling violate trade commitments made by the U.S. when it joined the WTO in 1995 and represent an unfair trade barrier.

The WTO ruling confirmed the complainants’ allegations and determined the U.S. accepted obligations to allow gambling across national borders when it became a member of the WTO. By prohibiting Internet gambling, it has reneged on that agreement.

The U.S. argues it never agreed to eliminate trade barriers on gambling services. It claims the language used in the U.S. service commitments made by the Clinton administration clearly intended to exclude gambling. It plans to appeal the ruling.

Most forms of Internet gambling are illegal in the U.S. The rules are complex, but ultimately, the cumulative effect is to make the supply of Internet gambling and betting services from a WTO member to the U.S. illegal.

Internet gambling has developed in the Caribbean to boost a struggling tourism industry that was injured by a series of hurricanes in the late 1990s. These nations say U.S. actions restricting offshore gambling damaged its Internet industry, causing the loss of jobs and government revenue.

Washington indicated it would fight vigorously a decision that could open the U.S. to offshore gambling.

The U.S. has continued to try to stop online gambling by discreetly threatening U.S. companies that have business relationships with Internet gambling interests. A broad net has been cast that envelops media, public relations and technology firms that could be held legally liable for "aiding and abetting" online casinos.

The tactic appears to be working because several large media groups have pulled ads for Internet casinos.

However, there is the view this approach may fail if advertising for Internet casinos is found to be guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Others support prosecution on the grounds it is illegal in the U.S. for companies to profit from online casinos.

The U.S. says laws against Internet gambling are important for social policy reasons. Gambling can lead to problems such as bankruptcy, divorce and even suicide.

Read the entire article at: London Free Press 

2004 Online Casino News Archive


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