U.S. misses net gambling proposal deadline

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March 31 came and went on Monday without Antigua and Barbuda receiving a proposed settlement that was expected from the United States in their Internet gambling dispute.

According to the Antigua Sun, up to late Monday neither Mark Mendel, Antigua's attorney in the WTO matter, nor the local Directorate of Gaming had received any word from the U.S. Trade Representative in the matter.

Mendel had said last week they were anticipating a proposal from the United States on Monday, but they were adopting a "wait and see" approach. There was no indication what the U.S. proposal might be if it were to show up, and Antigua hadn't submitted a proposal of its own.

During the five-year online gambling trade dispute, the process has seen many delays and missed deadlines. The United States has repeatedly failed to meet deadlines on actions imposed by the WTO after its ruling that the online gambling ban flouted trade regulations.

The United States stopped fighting the ruling in 2007, giving Antigua the opportunity to ask for compensation in the dispute. The United States also decided to pull its commitments with the WTO in regards to online gambling, which opened it up to compensation claims from other nations that allow the industry.

Antigua took its initial compensation claims to a WTO arbitration panel which awarded it $21 million per year in trade sanctions. It has also requested arbitration for its second claim for the United States pulling out of agreements.

Mendel had told the Antigua Sun last week that any proposal put forth by the United States would cover both compensation claims to bring both aspects of the dispute to a close.

Several other countries have filed claims against the United States since it announced that it was withdrawing online gambling from its WTO agreements. Costa Rica was the latest to reach a settlement agreement with the United States, along with Canada, Japan and the European Union.

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