|David Carruthers of UK based online betting site, BetonSports, has released comments regarding the predicament US authorities face in trying to police internet gambling activities. The US is currently being challenged in its attempts to enforce the illegal status of online gambling within the states by Antigua Barbuda via the WTO (World Trade organisation).|
Like many within the industry, Carruthers is keenly awaiting the end result of the action, as a loss by the US could mean it faces more litigation from other countries. Antigua and Barbuda have claimed that partially due to the US’s actions against the industry, (which has included seizing funds from US based companies who held advertising contracts with offshore internet gambling operators), and allowing US owned companies to offer gambling within the country (albeit not online versions) but forbidding off shore operators to do so, meant the US was violating the General Agreement on Trade in Services.
So far in the case the WTO court have found in favour with Antigua and Barbuda, and a settlement is to be reached by 23 August. Observers are worrying that Antigua and Barbuda will succumb to US pressure, and not pursue the complaint any further.
It is this kind of action that has prompted Carruthers’ assertion that the US will have to eventually drop its outlaw of online gambling activities. He likens the situation to the prohibition of alcohol back in the early twentieth century. As he said: “What happened with alcohol was a disaster...Nobody wants this business which is flourishing offshore, being pushed back onto the streets and the back alleys of the US”. He also added that “there’s a huge missed opportunity here” in terms of revenue lost by the US in its persistence with the illegal classification of online gambling activities.