Bodog Europe declared support for Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Finance, the Economy, and Public Administration Hon. Harold Lovell, as he declared the American gambling laws violate international treaty obligations.
The United States has been prohibiting gambling operators licensed by Antigua and Barbuda from accepting American consumers. This sparked a “David and Goliath” trade dispute back in 2003. Antigua brought a petition to the World Trade Organization (WTO) declaring this violates the General Agreement on Trade and Services (GATS). This is because the American domestic companies can still offer internet gambling services while federal legislation restricts the other 152 WTO member countries from tapping this market.
While there aren’t any licensed online casinos in the US, the treaty is violated because the US allows remote wagering on domestic horse races even as other WTO nations are denied access to this market. The WTO ruled that this continuing violation causes 21 million USD in damages to Antigua each year.
Antigua and Barbuda does not have significant trade leverage, so the WTO enabled the nation to suspend American intellectual property rights as a “counter-measure”. Instead of exercising this counter-measure, the island nation has been attempting to negotiate with a US Trade Representative, trying to find a more beneficial solution.
After a meeting with Minister Lovell, CEO of Bodog Europe Patrik Selin stated “The meeting was very constructive. . . .Though Bodog Europe has no US-facing business, we remain committed to the economic interests of Antigua and Barbuda and the ongoing strength of the Financial Services Regulatory Commission. We were grateful to have the opportunity to discuss these matters directly with the Minister.”