The Caribbean island government of Antigua and Barbuda’s finance minister has spoken out at the World Trade Organization, on the on-going and continued silence of U.S. trade representatives, a full 24 hours following the expired deadline yesterday, that had been set for their compliance with a WTO disputes panel ruling.
Pending U.S. legislation on online betting said Finance Minister Errol Cort, would make it more difficult for Antigua’s online gambling companies to carry out business with U.S. citizens.
Antigua brought the dispute to a WTO panel, which decided that unless it took action to adjust its policy on Internet gambling through horse-racing bodies, the U.S. prohibition legislation would breach global trade rules. Earlier this week the deadline for the U.S. government’s compliance passed.
Finance Minister Errol Cort said that the deadline had come and passed and that the United States had made no effort whatsoever with regard to compliance. He added that the pending U.S. legislation would additionally ensconce the prejudiced nature of the United States’ approach to cross-border gambling.
Finance Minister Errol Cort also said that U.S. trade officials had discounted each and every offer Antigua and Barbuda had put forward to involve the United States in an effort to bring about a reasonable resolution of this dispute. Cort also said that Antigua was considering all possible options to force the U.S. to comply with the WTO ruling but admitted that bringing a settlement to the dispute would be tremendously challenging in light of Antigua’s lack of economic and political influence.
Furthermore, Cort said that as the United States continues to flaunt the WTO decision and attempts to guarantee its own domestic monopoly on gambling and betting services, Antigua and Barbuda would look to also point our that they have a decidedly regulated gaming industry in their own country.