|At its recent Heads Of Government conference in Barbados, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) economic bloc has expressed its appreciation and pledged its support for the efforts of American Congressman Barney Frank and his Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act to regulate Internet gambling in the United States.|
CARICOM is a 15-member organisation, created in 1973 to give small Caribbean nations trading leverage against larger markets, which threw its weight behind Antigua earlier this month in opposition to America’s Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). The group stated that the American legislation, in agreement with a recent World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling, restricts access to foreign trade and should be brought in line with international trade agreements; a position the US is fighting.
Antigua filed suit in June in US District Court against America’s Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, the US Federal Trade Commission and the US Federal Reserve to stop the enforcement of UIGEA and claimed formal annual trade sanctions of $3.4 billion for the nation’s 80,000 citizens to offset losses to the islands’ Internet gambling community and overall economy.
“CARICOM’s endorsement of Congressman Frank’s Internet gambling bill is another significant indication that the US must readdress the way it now treats Internet gambling,” said Jeffrey Sandman, the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative’s Spokesman.
“Rather than face billions in trade sanctions for WTO violations, we hope that Members of Congress will instead regulate Internet gambling in order to comply with the WTO, better protect consumers and generate billions of dollars for important government programs.”
Frank’s Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act would regulate Internet gambling and require domestic and foreign online gambling operators to obtain a license and put in place safeguards to protect against underage and compulsive gambling and ensure the integrity of financial transactions. This is unlike UIGEA, which made online gambling virtually illegal in the US.