|Intended litigation regarding online gambling to take place between the United States and Antigua has been suspended. The intention is to resolve the dispute instead by negotiations. The issue being debated began when the twin islands Antigua and Barbuda challenged the US ban on internet gambling, and were successful in their bid.|
The World Trade organisation judged that the ban imposed contradicted US trade commitments, and whilst respecting America’s reasons behind the ban, found fault with them for not exploring avenues through which to find alternatives to the ban in respect to Antigua.
A spokesperson for the WTO announced yesterday that both countries “have requested the (WTO) panel to suspend the panel proceedings until 23 August 2004. The panel has agreed to this request.” Legally Antigua could revoke this suspension and recommence proceedings with only 10 days notice. A spokesperson for the US Trade Representative’s office, Richard Mills has commented that “We look forward to working with Antigua to discuss the issues surrounding the dispute and hopefully to resolving it”.
Antigua and Barbuda have a small stake in the global online gambling industry, but this stake is important to them. Faced with a decline in tourism the islands are working to establish and expand an internet gambling industry to help boost the country’s economy.