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April-07-2005,
ANTIGUA WINS WTO GAMING RULING...By The Major

April 7th, 2005 (Antigua) - The World Trade Organization (WTO) appellate body today upheld a ruling in favour of Antigua in the trade dispute with the US regarding cross-border online gambling with sportsbooks. This is a landmark victory for Antigua as the first, and smallest, WTO member to defeat the United States, the largest member, in this well-respected international trade court. .The impartial dispute resolution machinery of the WTO has functioned as we had expected,. says Mark Mendel, lead legal counsel for Antigua.s case. .Justice has been served and potential compliance issues facing various US corporations and the US Department of Justice will now be resolved in a manner favorable to fair and responsible international commerce.. Mr. Mendel noted .the Appellate Body recommended that the WTO cause the US laws to be brought in conformity with the GATS. The ruling also notes that the US laws in effect discriminate against foreign commerce. Unless the US wants to repeal all of its laws that currently permit any form of domestic remote gambling and also adopt laws to affirmatively prohibit it in all forms country-wide, they will have to provide Antigua fair access.. The WTO ruling is anticipated to pave the way for new financial and media opportunities for Antiguan gaming operators. Previously US companies such as Citibank, Chase Manhattan, Bank of America, Clear Channel Communication, Discovery TV, Yahoo and MSN were discouraged from conducting financial transactions or broadcasting advertisements involving online gaming products. The WTO determination is expected to end subpoenas or threats of prosecution from the United States Justice Department to US companies who choose to do business with Antigua offshore gaming companies. .This is a country-specific ruling,. says Mendel, .but it may have far-reaching implications.. In the ruling, the Antiguans argued that it is inappropriate to treat businesses that conduct transactions online as if they are unequal to or somehow less credible than traditional brick-and-mortar operations. Additionally, it was underscored that it is inappropriate for the US government to assume an industry lacks integrity in the absence of objective evidence. The US now faces compliance issues that will require the United States government to thoughtfully address its approach to on-line gaming rather than simply prohibiting it altogether. Mendel states that this WTO ruling will ultimately result in US companies making accommodations to Antiguan gaming operators. .At the end of the day,. said Mendel, .we expect that major internet search engines, including Google and Yahoo, financial institutions and credit card service providers will be required to accept advertising from Antiguan internet gaming sites as they do currently with US gaming interests, including hundreds of American casinos and state lotteries.. For further information please contact: Jools Moore or Joslyn Tinker +44 (0) 207 395 0500 From the US to the UK: 011 44 207 395 0500 jools@cancancommunications.com or joslyn@cancancommunication.com



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