Antigua and Barbuda voiced strong opposition against the federal poker legalization proposed by the Reid-Kyl bill. The Caribbean nation is fighting a legal battle through the World Trade Organization against the USA.
The island’s government claims the bill hurts Antiguan internet gaming industry by trying to ban offshore online gambling
Antigua estimates that currently $3.4 billion a year is lost because of the federal ban on US online casinos operated offshore. The WTO has given authorization to Antigua in the worth of $21 million a year to violate US intellectual property. However, both sides seek to find a fair settlement.
Antigua’s legal representative, Mark Mendel emphasized that “Even if they pass this legislation, we can go back to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and embarrass them even further.”
Mendel added: “We want to work with you, we want to have a fair and reasonable settlement, and this is the perfect time to get it done.”
Reid-Kyl draft set to change gambling laws in the US states: “The United States never intended to include Internet gaming of any kind within the scope of its commitments under the General Agreement for Trade in Services, and therefore, no World Trade Organization Member had any competitive expectation of access to the United States Internet gaming market.”
Antigua Minister of Finance and the Economy, Harold Lovell responded in a statement: “The wording of Senator Kyl’s legislation misrepresents the facts. Given that the U.S. has been immersed in a trade dispute for the last decade with Antigua and Barbuda, the evidence is there for all to see that remote gaming was always at issue. This is nothing short of legislating historical fiction.”
A spokeswoman for Senator Reid answered: “The bill that has been leaked is just a draft and is a premature version of the online poker legislation. We continue to work with all stakeholders, including states, to address concerns.”
Mendel commented:” The way that they designed the bill is to get a license, you have to be a land-based casino operator already. There’s no way the Antiguans would be able to get a license under this bill.”
Mendel emphasized: “What the bill says is that your servers and whatever else you need to physically run the business, it has to be located in the United States.”