|Officials from the Government of Antigua And Barbuda have announced plans to use a Caribbean business conference attended by US legislators to press its case on discriminatory online gambling legislation in America.|
Officials and politicians plan to raise the issue of the tiny nation's long-running trade battle with the United States over online gambling with around ten Members of the US Congress when they gather this week for the annual Caribbean and Latin American Aquaculture Congress in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Antigua has accused the US of crippling its gambling industry by effectively banning Americans from making online wagers and the nation’s Finance Minister, Errol Cort, stated that officials would raise the issue at the event and in private meetings with members of America’s Congress.
He stated that his Government also plans to invite lawmakers on a tour of the Caribbean nation's Financial Services Regulatory Commission and some Internet gaming companies.
Cort told the Associated Press news service that Antigua hopes to prove to the visiting politicians that his nation has the capacity to adequately regulate gaming operations.
The US Congress barred American banks and credit card companies from processing online gambling payments last year under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). This legislation denied international gaming businesses access to the lucrative American market prompting Antigua, which has a population of about 70 000, to file a complaint with the World Trade Organisation seeking $3.4 billion in trade sanctions.