Caribbean nation could get less than the $3.4 billion after winning WTO case against US
Tuesday 31st July 2007
International economics law expert John Jackson has announced that Antigua and Barbuda will most likely have to settle for a much smaller amount than the $3.4 billion in compensation it has asked for from the US after winning a World Trade Organisation (WTO) dispute over Internet gambling.
The US lost its dispute with Antigua after the WTO ruled that it was wrong to forbid foreign competition for bets on Internet gambling on horse racing while allowing domestic interstate bets. Soon after losing its final appeal, the Office of the US Trade Representative announced that the inclusion of Internet gambling commitments in the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) was a mistake and that it would withdraw those commitments.
Speaking at a policy forum hosted by the Cato Institute in Washington on Wednesday, Jackson, who is a professor at the prestigious Georgetown University Law Center, said that the US would be compliant with the WTO ruling by withdrawing the horse racing commitments without subjecting itself to an evaluation of how Antigua is affected by the entire US ban on foreign Internet gambling providers.
'The U.S. could withdraw the whole sporting commitment but then the compensation will be more than it needs to be,' said Jackson.
'More likely, it will carve out of the sporting commitment just the horse racing gambling question. Arguably, the compensation only has to deal with the horse racing problem.”
However, Antigua's attorney, Mark Mendel, disagreed with Jackson's assessment and stated that the ruling goes beyond Internet betting on horse races.
'This is not about horse racing,” said Mendel. “They were very successful in spinning this as if it's only a horse racing issue. This isn't about horse racing, it's about remote gaming.'