Antigua and Barbuda’s clash with the United States’ online gaming principles
ST JOHN’S, Antigua -- It’s a seemingly endless battle between David and Goliath. As two polar opposite countries crossed their fingers in hopes of drawing the perfect numbers to mark their respective territories in the bingo card of online gaming.
In 2003, Antigua and Barbuda daubed the first number by challenging the United States’ federal and state laws blocking Internet gambling. The World Trade Organization
then favoured with the little island nation a couple of years later (2004 and 2005). On the other hand, the US, who was looking confident on where they stand on the issue, was quick to counter by saying that they issued warrants for American operators in Antigua.
However, the country rejected complying with them, and Attorney General Justin Simon said “We have been at the negotiating table with the Department of Trade but nothing has come out of it. We have made suggestion after suggestion and we’ve been told, ‘We’ll get back to you,’” adding, “So at this stage, we really think that we should begin to structurally prepare ourselves for implementing the recommendations dealing with intellectual property.”
After an estimated economic damage of $3.4 billion, the Caribbean islands seemed to have been short changed even after their WTO win against the US. With cheekybingo
and its affiliate sites ruling the worldwide online bingo circuit, Antigua remains bothered by their inability to collect substantial revenues from the online gaming industry. As a way to amend their losses, Attorney General Justin Simon established a committee last July to begin running on a plan to gather up royalties from American intellectual properties like music and film. Simon claimed that the country’s decision was a result of a year’s worth of frustrating and unproductive negotiations with US trade officials – which, in a way, dealt a major dent in Antigua
’s online gaming industry.
In essence, this whole situation seems to overextend to the personal lives of citizens – telling them what they can, and cannot do, in their well-deserved spare time. People spend time playing online bingo and other games using their hard-earned money, and prohibiting them will just result in a more serious matter – possibly reaching far beyond the realms of the music and film industry.