A Closer Look at the US WTO Statement

26 April 2006

The United States issued a statement on April 11 declaring compliance with the World Trade Organization's ruling in the dispute brought by the government of Antigua and Barbuda.

The WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) last year gave the United States an April 3, 2006 deadline to bring its laws into WTO compliance by either allowing the cross-border trading of Internet gambling services or banning all U.S. companies from offering I-gaming services that foreign operators are not allowed to offer in the United States. When the deadline passed with no tangible action by the United States, Antigua cried foul and began pursuing remedies that allow WTO members to impose trade sanctions against other members who do not comply with a dispute ruling.

In the statement addressed to the chairman of the DSB, however, the United States said that the U.S. Department of Justice reaffirmed its position on remote gambling on horse racing on April 5 during testimony before a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee hearing on Rep. Bob Goodlatte's Internet Gambling Prohibition Act.

"The Department of Justice views the existing criminal statutes as prohibiting the interstate transmission of bets or wagers, including wagers on horses," the statement reads. "The Department is currently undertaking a civil investigation relating to a potential violation of law regarding this activity. We have previously stated that we do not believe that the Interstate Horse Racing Act amended the existing criminal statutes."

Click here to view the full statement.