Monday, April 02, 2007
WTO gambling ruling against US

On 30 March, a WTO report said that US has not complied with the 2005 WTO gambling ruling in the case “Antigua & Barbuda versus the United States”.

This 2005 ruling said that the US legislation related to gambling did not correspond to their commitments made to free up the services market. In the 1996 Uruguay Round Agreement, the US had erroneously included gambling services under their free market offer by misinterpreting services classification rules.

The 2005 ruling also said that WTO member states could always restrict gambling services on the grounds of public moral and order, but that this should be done equally for domestic and foreign suppliers. Almost every country in the world, including the European Union, has excluded gambling from WTO free market deals and the ruling will therefore effect only the two countries involved.

It is too early to see what the next steps will be. The US has further appeal possibilities or perhaps it could come to an agreement with Antigua for a compensation measure. With the recent adoption of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, it does not seem likely that the US is going to change its laws.