U.S. fails to comply with WTO deadline on Internet gambling

The United States government has failed to comply with a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling to amend its existing Internet gambling laws to allow U.S. citizens access to online gambling services based in the Caribbean nation of Antigua & Barbuda. According to the Antigua Sun, the U.S. was last year given an April 3, 2006, deadline to comply with the WTO ruling but has not yet taken any action to lift current restrictions despite the passing of the date.

Antigua has invested heavily in the local Internet gambling sector in the hopes of boosting employment and revenue in the small Caribbean nation. Currently, major U.S. banks and Internet search engines are not allowed to do business with Antigua's gaming sector, a prohibition the WTO has decreed a violation of International trade laws.

The newspaper reported that Errol Cort, Minister of Finance and the Economy in Antigua, has approached the U.S. government numerous times to set up talks, and has even invited officials to review Antigua's regulations and their implementation "on the ground," but that these offers were ignored by U.S. officials.

Current initiatives launched by U.S. politicians aimed at banning Americans from wagering on Internet gambling sites have raised additional concerns among Antiguan gaming sector firms, as it could potentially block U.S. citizens from using their credit cards when wagering on Internet sites based in Antigua.

Please see WTO Says U.S. Must Change Gambling Laws By April for additional details on the history of this issue, and H.R. 4777 and H.R. 4111 for information on the proposed anti-Internet gambling legislation currently being debated in the U.S. Congress.

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