The U.S. government’s move to effectively outlaw online casino and sports betting by prohibiting U.S. banks and Internet service providers from offering financial and Internet services to online bettors and the sites they frequent threatens to destroy the fragile economies of island nations Antigua and Barbuda.
The April 3, 2006 deadline looms and still no word from U.S.A. The U.S. government’s move to effectively outlaw online casino and sports betting by prohibiting U.S. banks and Internet service providers from offering financial and Internet services to online bettors and the sites they frequent threatens to destroy the fragile economies of island nations Antigua and Barbuda. In an effort to stave off those devastating effects, these online gambling revenue-dependant governments took the U.S. before the World Trade Organization seeking relief. And relief was what they were granted.
The Geneva-based WTO ruled in April 2005 that the U.S. action illegally violated world trade agreements and gave the U.S. until April 3, 2006 to create legislation that was compliant. With less than ten days to go, the U.S. has remained silent.
“The U.S. government’s interference with a multi billion-dollar industry, and its attempts to legislate the morals of it citizens, is simply a ploy to protect its own tax revenues by blocking the outflow of gambling money from its shores.” Said Marianne Anderson, Director of Marketing at USsportsBook.com, an online sports betting company with headquarters in San Jose, Costa Rica. “And its failure to implement the decision of the WTO further damages the country’s image in the eyes of smaller nations who used to look to the U.S. as a role model for international business relations.” Marianne added.
That viewpoint is shared by Dr. John W. Ashe, the Ambassador from Antigua and Barbuda, who was recently quoted in an article on TaxNews.com as saying “‘With an implementation deadline approaching on 3 April 2006, less than three weeks from now, we might be forgiven, Sir, for having some anxiety at a complete lack of information from the United States on this most important matter facing the small and delicate economy of Antigua and Barbuda.”
Dr. Ashe is particularly concerned over the fact that not only has the United States ignored the WTO decision, it has actually proposed additional legislation, in the form of the “Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2005″ and the “Internet Gambling Prohibition Act” which will only increase the tension between the WTO and the countries involved.
“The only solution to this problem is for the U.S. to honor the WTO ruling and stop restricting its citizens from participating in online Agen Bola gambling and sports betting activities by rescinding all non-complying legislation. Any failure to comply could results in worldwide trade sanctions against the USA which will hurt the economy much more than some missed gambling tax revenues ever could.” Marianne said.
As the clock ticks towards the deadline, it remains to be seen how the U.S. government will respond.