Offshore bookies upbeat on WTO ruling
By paul
Betonsports CEO David Carruthers wants to set up shop in the US. “I’d be on the first airplane out of here,' said Carruthers, whose online bookmaker is currently based in Costa Rica. 'We would have our operation in the U.S. up and running in 30 days,' Carruthers said. The day that online bookmakers can set up shop in the US may be just a little bit nearer, thanks to the recent World Trade Organization (WTO) judgment in favour of Antigua against the US.

A WTO panel last week ruled in favor of a complaint from Antigua that the US’ prohibitionary measures towards online gambling constitute an unfair trade barrier.

Internet gambling companies think the ruling could boost the prospects of eventual US regulation of the online gambling industry. 'It's definitely a stepping stone,' said Simon Noble, CEO of offshore bookmaker

Despite concerns about encouraging problem gambling, the average NCAA tournament bet on is $60. Last year the tournament pulled in 1.6 million bets, totaling $96 million.

The US government will appeal the WTO decision, but if it loses and keeps trying to enforce a prohibition on online gambling, the US would be liable to trade sanctions. Despite this, the anti-online gambling lobby is still gung-ho about prohibition.

'Laws against sports betting and Internet gambling advance important social policy,' said Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) the author of the Senate legislation on online gambling. 'We've had a ban on interstate sports gambling through telephone lines or wires since 1961. So long as we fail to clearly adapt this law to include the Internet, we will leave unchecked a dangerous and growing addiction.'

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