Costa Rica will join World Trade Organization (WTO) members: European Union (EU), Antigua & Barbuda, India and Japan in seeking compensation from the United States, according to reports on Point-Spreads, relating to Washington’s removal of online gambling and online poker from its trade obligations, after the WTO repeatedly ruled that Washington’s ban on remote Internet gambling violates WTO trade agreements that the United States signed.
When the U.S. lost its final appeal March 2007 the United States Trade Representative’s office (USTR) announced that it would take the unprecedented legal step of changing the international commitments it made as part of the 1994 General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) agreement amongst the 150 members of the WTO.
Under the GATS, if a country withdraws its commitments other nations can seek compensation for any services trade opportunities that they could prove they lost through the change.
So Costa Rica will seek compensation from the United States for economic hardships caused by the US crackdown related to online gambling.
The Central American nation of Costa Rica has been particularly adversely affected by US policy towards online gambling, since it domiciles more online gambling companies than any other country in the world.
Online betting firm BetonSports was forced to shut down and lay off over 1,000 employees, after receiving many indictments from the US government. Also Bodog, BetUS and other related Costa Rican employers have downsized as a result of US-facing portions of their businesses being curtailed.
Costa Rica is also very aware of the domino effect that cut-backs and layoffs by major Internet gaming employers have had on all Costa Rican businesses that directly or indirectly supported the industry, including telecommunications, travel and leisure, banking, hotel, restaurant, and entertainment sectors. Gambling911 relays that „at one time it was widely believed that the Internet gambling sector employed at least 10,000 Costa Ricans either directly or indirectly.“
No compensation figure has been disclosed, but Point-Spreads sources confirmed with Marco Vinicio Ruiz, the Costa Rican Minister of Commerce, that the letter requesting compensation from the United States would be sent to the WTO.