The nation of Antigua and Barbuda, which is home to Absolute Poker, one of the dominating poker sites that were shut down by the US government under the accusation of illegal functioning, has its nation fighting the US government at the WTO – World Trade Organization.

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The Caribbean government has taken a stand stating that the Black Friday shut down is illegal under the international trade laws, since gambling is allowed in the United States and the brick and mortar casinos in the United States allow people to wager and bet on horse racing which is state regulated.

While Caribbean government’s legal adviser stated that no country in the world puts people in jail for engaging in a trade that is legal under international law, Antigua’s finance minister stated that this move by the United States is a shot at killing their competition illegally. They say that the US government is illegally prosecuting these non-domestic suppliers of remote gaming services.

Questions have been raised regarding the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and their authority over shutting down the domain names of Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars and Absolute Poker. Seizing a domain name without a trial is a violation of the general agreement on Tariffs and Trade of the World Trade Organization. These poker sites reacquired their dot-com sites to return player funds on Wednesday. Absolute Poker has not yet entered into such an agreement with the Department of Justice.

The WTO has ruled against the United States regarding this issue on a previous occasion. It was seen that the United States violated international trade agreements in 2005 by prosecuting foreign online gambling sites. But, this did not affect the decision of the US government and they did not change their stance on internet gaming. The World Trade Organization has stated that Antigua could retaliate by suspending intellectual property rights held by the US firms, these rights are worth around $20 million.

Although it seems that the US government will not budge from their stand on this matter, the Caribbean government has yet to decide whether they will seek more sanctions against the US government through the WTO. United States has been a member of the WTO since its inception but the WTO does not have the authority or the power to make an amendment to any country’s laws or regulations. The warning issued against the US government does not hold ground.

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