Antigua attorney talks about WTO delay


The online gambling world was expecting to hear a decision on Friday from a World Trade Organization arbitration panel regarding an acceptable dollar amount for Antigua and Barbuda to receive from the United States for compensation in the online gambling case.

The industry will have to wait a bit longer to for the decision, as Reuters reported Friday that the panel report was delayed.

Mark Mendel, attorney for Antigua and Barbuda in the WTO case, answered a few questions for to help determine why the decision was delayed and what the next step is.

"The panel was, in essence, seeking to do what the United States failed to do during the course of the arbitration, and that was to see if there are other reliable figures extant that would contest the figures that we presented to the panel as the trade loss to Antigua," Mendel said.

"It doesn't appear that the panel has been able to find any different information either."

Antigua and Barbuda is claiming a $3.44 billion per year loss in revenue with the loss of the American online gambling market. The nation filed its claim after the United States chose to withdraw its trade agreements regarding online gambling after the WTO ruled it was still not in compliance earlier this year.

Representatives from the United States said that figure was blown out of proportion. Instead, they countered that the loss of business for the industry in Antigua and Barbuda was about $500,000.

When the two nations couldn't come to an agreement during the negotiation process, the matter went to the WTO arbitration panel to be decided.

Mendel told Reuters that he was told the WTO was putting final touches on the report, which also needs to be translated. He expects to hear on Monday what day they now plan to release it.

"I think it should be before Christmas," he told

Mendel also said the delay hasn't affected his optimism toward a favorable decision from the panel.

"We presented a fantastic case," he said. "I don't see how we don't get a high figure, really."

The European Union is also waiting to be compensated for the loss of American online gambling business. It is in negotiations with the United States, seeking a mutually agreeable figure for the compensation.

The EU has been pushed by industry members to go for $100 billion. The deadline for the two to come to an agreement was Friday as well. The deadline could be extended again, or the matter could eventually go to another WTO arbitration panel.

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