Antigua Surrends No-win Hand Against WTO Online-gaming Sanctions
December 27, 2007 3:09 PM
Antigua's bid to get big sanctions against the U.S. for its online gambling ban has for all intents and purposes failed
Last year saw the U.S.
ban online gambling in its many sordid and popular forms
. Casinos and private firms felt the pinch as the feds started 2007 off with a
campaign of arrests
that threatened to completely destroy the online gambling industry as it exists in the U.S. Most recently, the US government scored a
jackpot settlement of millions of dollars from Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft
, who admitted to aiding and abetting online gambling in the past.
Now the U.S.'s gambling-critical government has
, as it escaped any serious international sanctions from the World Trade Organization (WTO). The WTO, which polices trade worldwide, investigated Antigua's accusations that the U.S. was holding domestic online gambling providers to a different and unfair standard from foreign gambling providers since casinos are legally owned and operated in parts of North America.
The small island nation of Antigua invested heavily in online gambling and was rocked by the U.S.-lead WTO decision last year to curb and eventually ban it. Antigua sought $3.4B USD in WTO sanctions against the U.S.
In the end, the U.S. got off with nothing more than a slap on the wrist. The WTO announced a ruling of a paltry $21 million USD in sanctions against the United States. The U.S.'s Trade Representative stated publicly that Antigua deserved more than $500,000, but also stated, "We're pleased that the figure arrived at is over 100 times lower" than Antigua had sought.
Banning online gambling outright is illegal under the current WTO-enforced international treaty. In the coming months the WTO will hear committees to rework the WTO main agreement to allow such bans.
Sources close to the case speculate Antigua may try to fight back by allowing copyright-lax server farms; a move similar to the
recent Chinese ban on U.S. movie imports
"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings
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