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U.S. Loses WTO Ruling on Online Gambling

24 Mar 2004

ANTIGUA and BARBUDA – As reported by the Bloomberg News: "Antigua and Barbuda, the Caribbean island nation, has won a World Trade Organization ruling in a finding that U.S. legislation criminalizing online betting violates WTO commercial services accords.

"Antigua, which has a population of 68,000, filed a complaint with the WTO about a year ago concerning the United States' position effectively banning Internet gambling.

"The U.S. position has slashed revenue in Antigua, which developed online gambling to boost an economy whose main income, tourism, suffered after a series of hurricanes.

"…The ruling -- which only applies to Antigua and not to other Internet gambling jurisdictions worldwide -- was disclosed today and comes as federal prosecutors have threatened legal action against such media companies as Clear Channel and the Discovery cable network for doing business with online gambling sites.

"Experts also are unsure how the WTO, which has the authority to impose sanctions against the United States, could enforce the ruling. ours can take on a big nation and win."

"…Before the U.S. prohibitions, Antigua's Internet gambling industry employed 5,000 people in the country in 119 companies. That dropped over three years to 1,000 people in 30 companies as a result of the ban, [Sir Ronald Sanders, Antigua's ambassador to the WTO,] said…"

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