US given deadline for cross-border internet gaming

Antigua & Barbuda has welcomed the latest World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling in its Internet gaming case against the United States.

Washington has until next April to comply with a ruling about US restrictions on cross border gaming on the Internet, a WTO arbitrator ruled.

The arbitrator, Claus-Dieter Ehlermann, set the “reasonable period of time” for the US to adapt its legislation in line with the ruling, which was issued in April this year after the government here brought Washington before the global trade referee.

'The United States has already announced its intention to comply with the WTO findings,” said Neena Moorjani, a spokeswoman for the US Trade Representative, in a statement.

'In order to implement the findings all we need to do is clarify one narrow issue concerning Internet gambling on horseracing.

'This does not involve weakening US restrictions on Internet gambling,' she added.

Antigua argued in the complaint that it launched in March 2003 that US prohibitions were harming its online gaming business, which is aimed at reducing the island's economic dependence on tourism.

Antigua, with a population of about 68,000, is a center for offshore Internet gaming operations, attracting large numbers of US residents to its virtual casino-style games and betting services.

US officials contended that Internet gambling is illegal if it involves activity on US soil and have vowed to prosecute those involved in the practice.

Both sides claimed victory in the dispute. - 2005-08-23 11:00:31

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