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United States Loses WTO’s Ruling on Online Gambling
Antigua and Barbuda, the Caribbean island nation, won a World Trade
Organization ruling that U.S. legislation criminalizing online betting
runs counter to international law.
According to a confidential ruling to the two countries today,
Antigua, with a population of 68,000, won a complaint that a U.S. ban on
Internet gaming violates WTO accords on commercial services. The U.S.
ban has slashed revenue in Antigua, which developed online gambling to
boost an economy whose main income, tourism, suffered after a series of
Antigua-based Internet companies handle a quarter of online bets in a
global industry worth $6.1 billion. The country has lost more than $90
million in income from the U.S. ban. About a sixth of the government’s
$200 million annual revenue comes from the Internet gambling industry,
said Sir Ronald Sanders, Antigua’s ambassador to the WTO, in a telephone
interview from London.
”We lost many jobs as a result of the U.S. laws,” Sanders said.
“This is justice done and a victory for the WTO dispute system. This
proves that a small country like ours can take on a big nation and
Citigroup, the world’s biggest issuer of credit cards, agreed in 2002
to stop processing online gambling transactions using its cards. In most
U.S. states, unauthorized betting and gambling is illegal, regardless of
whether it is done online.
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2004 Online Casino News Archive