ST JOHN’S, Antigua -- The ongoing dispute between the US and Antigua and Barbuda about online gambling has been very well documented, so what does that mean now that legislators in the US are pushing to legalize gambling over the internet?
Well one thing is for sure, Antigua and Barbuda would benefit greatly as their trade dispute with the World Trade Organization (WTO) would most probably come to an end after ten long years that has seen their online gambling industry come to a halt. Prior to the ban, it was believed that the industry was worth a colossal $3.4 billion annually.
While the US government banned cross-border gambling in 2003, which meant that gambling sites based in the Caribbean were unable to accept bets from US-based clients, earlier this year the WTO delivered a ruling that allows Antigua and Barbuda to lift copyrights on certain services to the tune of $21 million per year.
Still, Antigua and Barbuda is demanding some sort of compensation from the US, even though nobody has actually said what sort of numbers they are talking about. The ban was obviously felt across the entire industry, as call centers, IT services and even affiliate portals such as www.bingofind.com
have been unable to offer their services to the US gambling community.
Mark Mendel, who is the lead counsel for Antigua and Barbuda in the matter, said that the efforts currently underway in the US to legalize gambling would obviously wane the stance of the US on online gambling. A few months ago, congressman Peter King introduced a new bill called The Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act. If approved, it would legalize gambling in the US and would probably bring a resolution to the decade old trade dispute between the two nations.