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Gambling Dispute With a Tiny Country Puts U.S. in a Bind

Star News Online 8/23/07 Two small Caribbean nations, Antigua & Barbuda, which have dozens of online casino have filed a trade dispute that challenges Washington's attempts to prohibit online gambling.

Mr. Mendel, an attorney in Texas, has been waging these issues with the World Trade Center, since 2003 when he first convinced officials in the small Caribbean nations with a population around 70,000 to instigate a trace complaint against the United Sates claiming that the ban over the internet violated Antigua & Barbuda's rights as a member of the W.T.O. While Antigua is known for it's popularity as a tourist attraction with it's beautiful beaches and historic harbor; it derives it's income secondly from the online casinos.

In 2004 the W.T.O ruled against the United States declaring Washington was out of compliance with it's rules.

In 2005 the W.T.O. gave the United States one year to comply with the ruling. That time has come and gone with the United States dismissing the ruling stating it had been in compliance all along. The case now is before arbitration, who is charged with assessing damages.

The W.T.O. acknowledges that when the original trade agreements were reached in the early 1990's, that the U.S. was not agreeing to gambling when it included recreational services. However, they must at this time accept the facts, not the intentions.

The attorneys who carefully watch this issue, say that the U.S. is inconsistent in it's stand on many issues. On one hand they say how inappropriate it is that China doesn't respect the W.T.O. decisions, but on the other hand they say the W.T.O. is completely wrong regarding the internet decisions so why should the U.S. comply.

Washington says that they have the right to block online gambling on moral grounds. The W.T.O. says this is inconsistent with American policy. The U.S. permits online bets at horse racing tracks, and casino gambling in more than 30 states.

Although many ob stables have been imposed by Washington, such as making it illegal for banks and credit card companies to handle Internet gambling payments, still millions of Americans fin a way to play poker and place sports bets online.

There have been many appeals, and the issue is now at the point of arguments between Mr. Mendel and U.S. attorneys over the amount of damages that Antigua has suffered.

Antigua knows that monetary damages equal to their losses is a drop in the bucket, and they are now seeking the right under international law to violate American intellectual property laws. It is probable that the music and software makes like Microsoft, will put pressure on Washington to resolve these issues to protect American intellectual property laws. This is new territory for all.