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Antigua & Barbuda Granted Panel Hearing In WTO Dispute With US

by Amanda Banks, Tax-News.com, London

03 September 2003


The Caribbean jurisdiction of Antigua & Barbuda has been successful in its plea for a panel to hear the case it has brought against the United States at the World Trade Organisation for banning the taking of online bets from offshore locations.

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.

Championing the the island's cause is the nation's Chief Foreign Affairs representative Sir Ronald Sanders who says the US laws "effectively prohibit all supply of gambling and betting services from Antigua to the US and have adversely affected this sector of our nascent e-commerce business."

"There will be hearings in which the panel will receive submissions from both parties, after which they will reflect on the arguments and deliver a report. This process will probably last until year-end," added Sir Ronald.


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