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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 another victory, 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.


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Just plain stupid
By tmouse on 12/28/2007 8:38:05 AM , Rating: 2
No I'm not talking about the ban or the settlement. Anyone who gambles on the web is just plain stupid. Shaving the odds a few percentage points equals millions. And "poor" countries are MUCH more likely to turn a blind eye. The gambling industry in the US (and probably in most of Europe) is one of the most highly watched and regulated industries period. In the US ANY gaming commission officer can pull a gambling license at ANY time and effectively close down the casino. The money lost simply is not worth the risk, there is more than enough profit already built in to the system. However small "private" operations almost always fall to the draw of getting a little more (sometimes it’s just a total fraud). You have absolutely NO WAY to know how legitimate the operation is. The sad part is most of the people who would be bilked are (statistically) the people who can not afford to lose the money. Poorer people will make up the majority (much like they do with the lotteries which are at least on the up and up even if the odds are poor). Another group is those with real addictions who can now flush their lives away in the privacy of their own homes (IF they still have any). I am certainly not against going out and having a good time and enjoying some gaming as a form of entrainment. Gambling on the web is just a bad idea pretty much for anyone. While I may see less risk in using a site associated with any of the worlds major casinos, lets face it gaming ON CREDIT or linking your bank account to a off shore third world based gaming site is just plain stupid.




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