WTO listens to talks about online gambling issue

Earlier this week the World Trade Organization (WTO) spent two days listening to arguments from the United States and Antigua and Barbuda about their online gambling issue.

Antigua and Barbuda emerged from the talks optimistic the WTO will rule the United States still hasn't complied with their original ruling that their gambling laws are against trade policies.

The United States has so far refused to comply with the WTO ruling, saying its laws are in full compliance. The nation has also continued its efforts to further ban online gambling such as sports betting, online casinos and online poker sites in the U.S.

This year, Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) which makes it so banks, credit cards and other certain financial tools will no longer be used to transfer money into online gambling accounts.

Some of the people involved in the case believe the passage of the UIGEA only helps strengthen Antigua and Barbuda's case against the United States. The tiny nation has also been bolstered with support from other, larger nations as well.

Dr. Errol Cort, the Antigua finance minister, said that China, Japan and members of the European Union were backing their case with the WTO.

"What is even more remarkable is that they choose to become active players in this WTO process," Cort said. "And we believe that a crucial factor in their respective decisions to do so was the pure merits of our case."

Antigua has already felt the impact of the UIGEA as businesses are reducing or shutting down their activities in the nation that serve the United States. BetonSports Ltd. is one that has been severely affected.

BetonSports was facing prosecution in the United States and made a deal to shut down their business there. Now Antigua is seeking a court injunction to stop the sale of the company.

Antigua wants to make sure BetonSports' customers are taken care of in the best way possible and that the company will follow the country's laws and regulations as it shuts down its U.S.-facing business.

Part of the nation's concern is that the company will use its assets to pay fines and penalties incurred through the deal they made in the United States instead of taking care of customers.

The courts will hear the application for the restraining order on Monday, during which BetonSports will be able to respond.

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