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A&B Frustrated By US Delaying Tactics In Online Gambling Dispute

by Amanda Banks, for LawAndTax-News.com, London

20 August 2003


It emerged this week that Chief Foreign Affairs representative for Antigua and Barbuda, Sir Ronald Sanders, has asked the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to establish a panel to arbitrate in the dispute between the Caribbean jurisdiction and the United States over the latter's restriction of offshore online gambling for its citizens.

As a result of Congressional scrutiny of the issue, and legislation such as the Leach Act, credit card providers and payment services such as Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal now refuse to process betting transactions between US citizens and offshore casinos and gaming sites, a development which has had a significant negative impact on the economies of countries such as Antigua and Barbuda.

Recent estimates have suggested that the A&B government has foregone between $20 million and $30 million as a result of the US action.

The jurisdiction was granted the right to a hearing by the WTO Dispute Settlement Body in July. However, Sir Ronald revealed recently that although two lists of potential panellists for the arbitration committee have been produced, both have been 'largely rejected by the US'.

'It seems that the US is unwilling to agree on the proposed panellists in an effort to delay the establishment of a panel and the early consideration of Antigua and Barbuda's complaint,' the Foreign Affairs Representative was quoted by the regional media as observing. He continued:

'Therefore, I have notified the US that Antigua and Barbuda sees no value in continuing a futile exercise.'

The WTO is expected to establish a panel by August 24.


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