There is long-running legal battle between Antigua and Barbuda and the United States about payments to the Caribbean country’s online casinos.
The background: opportunities to play online casino in United States are limited, with only a few states allowing its citizen to gamble on the internet or over mobile devices.
American gambling laws in fact forbid US citizens to gamble on foreign sites. The US authorities make the situation worse by trying to make payments to foreign servers impossible.
As you could have read in the American gambling news, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has already ruled on favor Caribbean nation. Now a statement from US Trade Representative Ron Kirk and a comment from President Obama fuelled the dispute..
Recently, Ron Kirk filed a WTO free trade challenge against China regarding subsidized its exports of auto parts.
President Obama gave voice to demanding free trade at a rally, saying: “These are subsidies that directly harm working men and women on the assembly lines in Ohio and Michigan and across the Midwest. It’s not right; it’s against the rules, and we will not let it stand.”
After Kirk’s statement, Antigua Finance Minister Harold Lovell has threatened with „unspecified sanctions” if US continued what he terms a “trade blockade” that prevents his from accepting US gambling payment.
Lovell emphasized in a statement to The Associated Press: “Absent a reversal of the US government’s illegal blockade of legitimate commerce from our nation, Antigua is prepared to explore the right to exact sanctions on industries in the US.”
Referring to Kirk’s comments, Lovell added: “Antigua and Barbuda hopes this unequivocal stance signals an end to the US government’s decade-long violation of WTO rulings in online gambling”.
Politics as usual. In the USA vs. China case the United States is in the same position as Antigua is in regarding its dispute with the USA, banging the drums about free trade, the importance of own markets and international trade law.
What shall we comment? Err, has anybody heard the saying about the stronger dog?