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WTO Update: US and Antigua Agree to Negotiate

1 July 2004

The United States has reached an agreement with Antigua and Barbuda to suspend litigation in the two countries' World Trade Organization dispute over the provision of online gambling services. Representatives for both parties are negotiating toward a compromise.

Richard Mills, a spokesperson for the U.S. Trade Representative's office, said, "We look forward to working with Antigua to discuss the issues surrounding the dispute and hopefully resolving it."

The suspension of litigation postpones the United States' plan to appeal the panel's verdict stating that U.S. policy regarding online gambling violates the terms of its General Agreement on Trade and Services. The legal document explaining the panel's finding remains confidential, but will become public as soon as it has been translated into the necessary languages--which should happen within the next few weeks.

U.S. representatives weren't as compromising when the panel reached its decision in March. On the day the verdict was announced, Mills said the U.S. intended to "argue vigorously that this deeply flawed panel report must be corrected by the appellate body."

What happens next remains a mystery. Antigua could have the upper hand in the negotiations because the panel ruled in its favor. But judging from the United States' unbending stance up until this point, as well as the U.S. Justice Department's traditionally unwavering position on Internet gambling, it's doubtful that it will amend legislation to allow I-gaming.

One possibility is that suspending litigation to negotiate is a stall tactic by the United States--a scenario that wouldn't surprise Antiguan authorities. Sir Ronald Sanders, the former foreign affairs representative for Antigua and Barbuda who initiated the WTO proceedings (and stayed with the case until after the panel's decision was rendered), often complained that the United States delayed the dispute process at every moment it possibly could.

It's also possible that Antigua would be willing to allow the United States to continue its practices in exchange for a cash settlement.

A third possibility is that the U.S. Republican Administration would want to settle to keep online gambling out of the public view during an election year.

The panel has agreed that the parties may suspend the legal proceedings until August 23. Antigua retains the right to cancel the suspension with 10 days notice.

WTO Update: US and Antigua Agree to Negotiate is republished from iGamingNews.com.
Bradley Vallerius

Bradley P. Vallerius, JD manages For the Bettor Good, a comprehensive resource for information related to Internet gaming policy in the U.S. federal and state governments. For the Bettor Good provides official government documents, jurisdiction updates, policy analysis, and many other helpful research materials.

Bradley has been researching and writing about the business and law of internet gaming since 2003. His work has covered all aspects of the industry, including technology, finance, advertising, taxation, poker, betting exchanges, and laws and regulations around the world.

Bradley Vallerius Websites:

www.FortheBettorGood.com
Bradley Vallerius
Bradley P. Vallerius, JD manages For the Bettor Good, a comprehensive resource for information related to Internet gaming policy in the U.S. federal and state governments. For the Bettor Good provides official government documents, jurisdiction updates, policy analysis, and many other helpful research materials.

Bradley has been researching and writing about the business and law of internet gaming since 2003. His work has covered all aspects of the industry, including technology, finance, advertising, taxation, poker, betting exchanges, and laws and regulations around the world.

Bradley Vallerius Websites:

www.FortheBettorGood.com