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Antigua and Barbuda Lays Down the Law

27/7/2006
The Caribbean country of Antigua and Barbuda has approached the World Trade Organisation, requesting an investigation into the United States’ gambling laws. Antigua is questioning whether the restrictions that the US has against internet gambling comply with international trade rules. The W.T.O has agreed to hold the enquiry, which might see even more pressure on the US from the international gambling community.

In a meeting with the W.T.O’s dispute settlement body, Antigua stated, ‘The United States has been busy passing legislation that is directly and unequivocally contrary to the ruling.’ This statement is in light of a previous ruling that some US laws were in line, but others breached international commerce rules.

Antigua challenged the US, accusing them of taking no measures to comply with previous recommendations and rulings of the W.T.O. The decision follows the arrest of the CEO and several other employees of BetOnSports, charged with gambling fraud, an act that has opened the floodgates against the already battered US legislation against gambling.

Antigua is vehement in this matter as the offshore industry found on the island is a profitable business that provides income for a vast portion of the islanders. The nation states that three US laws that prohibit companies from providing gambling services to consumers in the United States: the Wire Act, the Travel Act, and the Illegal Gaming Business Act are hurting their ability to maintain an industry other that tourism.

The W.T.O’s dispute settlement body has up to ninety days to file a report on the case, which will allow appeals from both parties.

Stephen Holder
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