Antigua to Resolve Longstanding Online Gambling Dispute with USPublished January 9, 2016 by Elana K
The Antigua Foreign Affairs Minister announced on Christmas Eve 2015 that Anigua is ready to accept the United States' offer, thus resolving the longstanding dispute between the two nations.
On Christmas Eve, the Antigua Foreign Affairs Minister, Charles Fernandez, announced that Antigua’s government is ready to resolve the longstanding gambling trade dispute between itself and the United States government. In fact, Antigua is ready to accept the United State’s offer as early as January 2016 (yes, now!), and resolve the issue once and for all.
Antigua’s beef with the United States goes back 13 years, when Antigua and Barbuda filed a complaint to the World Trade Organization accusing America of unfairly discriminating against Antigua's licensed online gambling sites that target the US.
On the other hand, the United States claimed that it had a responsibility to block international sites from its citizens in order to reduce problematic gambling behavior. The WTO accepted Antigua’s complaint, not the United States' defense, calling US policy hypocritical, in that it allowed domestic sites to offer gambling services but not foreign sites.
In siding with Antigua, the WTO demanded that the US pay an annual $21 million to Antigua to counter the losses incurred by the ban, but the US has to date not paid one cent to Antigua. While the previous administration of Antigua took a hard-line stance against the US, the current Prime Minister of Antigua, Gaston Browne, who was elected in 2014, has made good-faith offers to the US, offering to cut their debt in half. It seems that Browne’s more conciliatory approach has paved the way for Antigua to be ready to accept the United State’s latest offer. Hopefully, the former ruling party, the United Progressive Party, will not attempt to thwart the deal from going through.
What that deal is, however, has not yet been disclosed.
About the World Trade Organization
The WTO is an international organization that deals with the rules of trade between nations. Its goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their businesses.