Recently whilst visiting Antigua & Barbuda I visited one of many casinos scattered mainly around St Johns the capitol. Whilst there I was told that the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United States are fighting over a 20 year gambling dispute that stated when Antigua and Barbuda developed an internet gambling industry to replace declining tourism revenues it found itself shut out of the world’s largest gambling market. In 2003 WTO eventually won the right to compensation of US$21 million annually after the organization’s judges upheld its complaint that US laws were discriminatory.
However, the US government has not paid out the compensation, which has caused Antigua and Barbuda to suffer significant economic losses.They presented its latest argument to the WTO last week, urging the United States to make every effort to bring the matter to a satisfactory conclusion. They expressed its willingness to engage with the US in any format to settle the dispute amicably, as per the WTO’s report. The US expressed its willingness to work with Antigua and Barbuda to resolve the dispute, but said such efforts must be genuine and aimed at finding a resolution.They want to determine whether the dispute settlement system can provide practical and timely benefits for small and vulnerable economies. Meanwhile it didn’t stop me from enjoying playing on several of the many slot machines in sunny Antigua…will keep you updated ….