The authorities of Antigua and Barbuda have announced their intention to re-launch World Trade Organization (WTO) proceedings against the treatment meted by the US to offshore gaming companies. The government has been waiting for the US to comply with the WTO ruling of 8 years back that the US ought to give adequate compensation to Antigua for prohibiting Internet gambling in the US.

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The government of Antigua and Barbuda stated, “Having won a landmark decision from the WTO in 2004 that United States laws criminalizing remote gaming services offered to American consumers from Antigua were in violation of US international treaty obligations, Antigua and Barbuda has been unable despite sustained efforts to either get the United States to comply with the WTO ruling or to negotiate any nature of reasonable compromise to settle the dispute.”

Referring to the recent announcement made by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) that it no longer considers illegal several forms of online gambling as a “game changer,” the authorities of Antigua and Barbuda stated that, although the US lost its WTO case, it’s defense rested on the stand that its laws criminalized all forms of Internet gambling as the activity could not be regulated in the best interests of its public. The Antigua government stated that “publicly, the United States had continued to use its supposed prohibition of all remote gaming as a basis for continued non-compliance with its international trade obligations.”

Harold Lovell, the finance and economy minister, Government of Antigua, said that it is becoming increasingly difficult to understand the failure of the US to comply with the decision since it has discarded the basis of its objection to permitting Internet gambling services.

The authorities further stated that it has several WTO options, which it can use to force the US to comply with the WTO ruling. Lovell announced the government’s plans to consult appropriate gaming advocates and officials to identity the best ways for Antigua. Stating that the government of Antigua has won a fair victory, he said that the US ought to comply with the WTO ruling.

Stating that the US has stubbornly refused to comply with WTO rulings and has passed laws making it illegal for its banks and financial institutions to process gaming-related funds, the government of Antigua said that the US’s UIGEA of 2006 not only facilitates expansion of domestic legal gaming opportunities, but bans all inter-state and international Internet gaming.

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