US refusing to budge in online gaming dispute with Antigua

The United States continues to resist compliance with a World Trade Organization ruling regarding the double standards inherent in US online gambling regulations. In addition to reaching settlement with Antigua, the US will also have to negotiate settlements with several other countries.

The Antigua Sun printed excerpts of an interview with an official from the United States Trade Representative (USTR) office which outlined the basic US strategy for resisting the ruling. “We are trying to clarify, by using Article 21 of the GATS agreement (General Agreement on Trade in Services) that our obligations should not extend to gambling,” the unnamed official said.

In addition to reaching settlement with Antigua, the US will also have to negotiate settlements with European Union, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, India, Macao and Japan. Antigua proposed a controversial compensation model a few weeks ago, whereby the country would be allowed to violate US intellectual property laws with a gross cap of USD 3.4 billion per year.

The US has until September 19th to present its response to that claim, and then Antigua will have until October 4th to present their rebuttal. The US official claimed that negotiations with all members were going smoothly.

“We’ve been quite pleased, to date, that the members who have made claims seem to be approaching this issue with a sense of seriousness and realism and that they generally seem determined to reach a solution; and we continue to believe that this Article 21 process is really the path that is most likely to lead to a resolution of this issue,” the trade official told the SUN. Antigua’s lawyers disagreed strongly with this assessment, arguing that the US seemed to have called the meeting simply to give the appearance of cooperation.

The final decision on the issue will be issued by the end of November. Mark Mendel, attorney for Antigua, likes his side’s chances when the matter comes to hearing. “The decision is made by the same panel that we were before last time, which was very sympathetic to us,” Mendel told the Sun.