Antigua and Barbuda at Center StagePublished October 25, 2007 by OCR Editor
Already a lead player in the WTO ruling the calls for the US to compensate nations that were hurt by its violation of trade agreements, Antigua and Barbuda now is also involved in the US case against sportsbook company BetOnSports.
With the United States implementing and pursuing its policy of banning online gambling; the United Kingdom taking measures to regulate the industry; France arresting online gambling companies' executives; and other trends pro and con i-gaming around the world, Antigua and Barbuda are taking the lead on many an important front.
The small Caribbean nation unfroze BetOnSports' assets in the country, allowing the British sportsbook company to pay off some of its creditors. BetOnSports has pleaded guilty to a US racketeering conspiracy charge on May 24.
The US court barred the removal of any of the company's funds. BetOnSports has also agreed back then, at the St Louis federal court to furnish evidence against its founder, Gary Kaplan, and 11 co-defendants. Kaplan who awaits trial, has been refused release on bail after having fled a US government indictment for illegal Internet betting once in the past.
Money collected from debtors, now made possible thanks to Antigua and Barbuda, will be used to repay bettors as the plea agreement dictates.
But Antigua and Barbuda's role in the developments in online gambling does not end there. Beyond getting involved in the case between the US and the London-based sportsbook, the tiny nation has taken on the US directly, through the channels of the World Trade Organization.
There, at the WTO, a case between the two countries are in the midst of a legal battle. The small nation has sued the US for compensation for having shut down offshore online gambling sites in what is argued to be unfair trade action. A settlement was supposed to be reached earlier this week, but is now scheduled for December 14, 2007.
Though the extension puts the affair on hold and the world in suspense, Antigua and Barbuda is assuming the role of David, from the story of David and Goliath.