Antigua comes out strong on the Internet gambling
The tinny nation of Antigua and Barbuda today
voiced a strong opposition to the stance of the USA Trade
Department and encouraged other countries from the World Trade
Organization (WTO) to join them.
Antigua won the battle against the USA after
WTO panel ruled in March that America's decision to ban offshore
online gambling companies and allow US-based was illegal. But
the war was not over, and the USA representatives are working on
a solution which would exclude Internet gambling from any
agreements with WTO countries.
This move by the US angered the Antigua
officials and today they threatened to target American
trademarks, copyrights and telecommunications companies.
Ambassador John Ashe 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."
The online gambling dispute between Antigua
and the USA could prove one of the most difficult WTO has ever
settled, and opens the doors for negotiations of agreements
between USA and many countries, including the E.U., which could
start thinking to themselves in the lines of "If the USA
can revise agreements to their benefit, so can we." U.S.
declined to challenge today's adoption of the Internet gambling
ruling, because it says that its legal maneuver effectively ends
Two big countries - Brazil and India - both
said the United States was obliged by law to compensate Antigua
if it wants to now redefine its services obligations. The E.U.
questioned how the new clarification of the USA ban on online
betting would eliminate the discrimination that allows for
American companies providing offshore betting on horses and
other services to remain in business.
The European Union has always taken the
position that it will protect it's interests, namely the British
and some Scandinavian publicly traded online gambling companies
which lost millions after the UIGEA.