Online Casino News
Antigua Makes a move against the U.S.
The Caribbean island nation of Antigua has won its latest
long-shot effort to force the U.S. to open its market to
offshore gambling, according to a confidential report issued by
the World Trade Organization.
A United States Trade Representative official said in a
report that concludes the U.S. "has not taken the necessary
steps" to resolve the long-running dispute between the U.S. and
This could be because of the focus on blocking payment
providers. The USTR officially stressed that the report is only
an interim conclusion by the WTO and that the U.S. will have an
opportunity to respond before the final report is issued in
March. Even then, the USTR will have opportunities to appeal any
decision unfavorable to the U.S. The WTO allows countries to
keep services, including gambling, off their list of free trade
obligations to other WTO members as long the country bans those
services at home.
Antigua contends the U.S. is not consistent in its
application of laws banning Internet gambling since it permits
interstate online horse racing gambling. The WTO agreed with
Antigua in a report issued in 2005. In that report, the WTO
acknowledged the U.S. would have to turn to Congress to repair
the discrepancy in its laws. Last year, Congress attached the
Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 to a port
authority bill and President Bush signed it into law.
The new law prohibits U.S. banks, financial institutions and
other third-party money exchange operations from processing
payments to over 2,300 offshore gambling sites located outside
of U.S. jurisdiction. The law, however, specifically exempts
state-sanctioned online gambling on horse racing and lotteries.
"We just need to clarify one narrow issue involving remote
gambling on horse racing," Gretchen Hamel, a spokesperson for
the USTR, said.
Antigua, the smallest member of the WTO, said the apparent
inconsistency serves as a basis for Americans to legally gamble
through online, offshore gambling casinos based in Antigua.
Because Antigua has many hurricanes hurting their economy, they
are trying everything to keep it flowing smoothly.
The dispute between Antigua and the U.S. began back in 2000
when Congress changed the language in the Interstate Horseracing
Act to accommodate national betting through simulcasts at tracks
throughout the country. As part of the change, Congress expanded
the definition of an interstate off-track bet to include
pari-mutuel wagers transmitted between states by way of
telephone or other electronic media such as the Internet.