Myths and Facts About Online Gambling International Trade in Gambling Services

International Trade in Gambling
ServicesThe United States embraces
the concept of free trade between
countries. As part of its free-trade
philosophy, the United States has entered
into a number of international trade
agreements designed to promote free trade
among nations. The United States is a
leading advocate of free
trade as well as observing an international
system to fairly resolve trade disputes
between nations. The United States
utilizes the international free trade system
to its benefit as the largest economy in the
world.   It is undisputed that the United
States gets more out of the World Trade
Organization and similar bodies than any
other country.In line with its free trade
philosophy, the United States is a huge
exporter of gambling goods and services. 
Many of the largest gaming companies in the
world are of United States origin. Within
the United States, some of these companies
operate their own casinos as well as engage
in other gaming-related activities such as
developing, manufacturing and distributing
gambling machines and providing technical
and management support services to other
service providers. These companies include
Alliance Gaming Corporation, Harrah’s
Entertainment Inc, International Game
Technology, Park Place Entertainment, Boyd
Gaming Corporation, Mandalay Resort Group,
MGM Mirage Corporation and Trump Hotels and
Casinos.  All of these are publicly owned
companies, traded on the New York Stock
Exchange.In 2003,
the Government of Antigua and Barbuda
brought a trade dispute before the World
Trade Organization because the United States
was seeking to block Antiguan providers from
offering gambling services to Americans.  
In 2005, the WTO ruled in favor of
Antigua.   The ruling is complicated and
often misunderstood.   The effect of the
ruling, however, is relatively simple.  
First, the WTO held that the United States
had made a commitment to free trade in
gambling and betting services under the
General Agreement on Trade in Services
(GATS).   Second, the WTO held that the
United States was violating this commitment
because it allowed domestic Internet and
telephone gambling on horse races under the
Interstate Horseracing Act (IHA) and
therefore could not legitimately block
similar services being supplied from
Antigua.    The WTO’s final ruling was that
the United States is bound to allow Antigua
gambling operators to access the American
market by April 2006.In May 2007,
the US admitted that it made the gambling
commitment and announced it would try to
withdraw it from the GATS. This is an
untested, long, and complicated process
involving several trading partners,
including the EU. The withdrawal process is
still ongoing today. In the meantime, in
December 2007, the WTO has ruled that
Antigua is entitled to a trade sanction of
$21 million annually until the US either
complies or resolves the matter. Under the
WTO’s latest ruling, Antigua is entitled to
cross-retaliate against the US by suspending
US copyright and trademarks, a unique
economic weapon under international law.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s