The government of Antigua and Barbuda today welcomed the news that Rep. Barney Frank, Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, has announced he will introduce legislation in the Congress to repeal last year’s Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act and substitute a regulatory scheme for remote gambling in the United States.Antigua has won a hard-fought victory against the United States over remote gambling at the World Trade Organisation in Geneva, a victory that was enhanced by the latest WTO ruling on the matter released just last month. As a result of that decision, the United States is obligated under the WTO rules to give Antiguan service providers access to consumers in the United States.”While we have not yet seen the legislation,” stated Dr Errol Cort, Antigua’s Minister of Finance and the Economy, “we are encouraged that such a prominent legislator in the United States has stepped forward in support of a rational approach to the provision of remote gaming services.” We hope that the bill as introduced will recognise Antigua’s victory at the WTO and bring the United States into compliance with its WTO obligations.” The United States needs to comply with our ruling if it respects the system and expects other countries, such as China for example, to adhere to adverse rulings that the United States may obtain in its favour using the process.

Although the United States which has a history of complying with adverse WTO decisions announced it intended to comply with the decision of the WTO in the Antigua case, the only action taken since the decision was handed down was last fall’s Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which ironically moved the United States farther out of compliance with the WTO ruling by adding to the trade discriminatory effect of United States remote gambling laws.

Mark Mendel, Antigua’s lead counsel on the Internet gambling case, said in reaction to the news “This is great news. Hopefully there is something for us in the bill, and if not, we will do our best to see that something is included.”

Mr Mendel added that Antigua would be engaging with Rep. Frank’s office after Antigua has had a chance to review the legislation. “Whatever the bill might specifically say,” added Mr Mendel, “this is an excellent development. It is about time that the United States gave this issue the thoughtful consideration it deserves rather than simply trying to prohibit it. Antigua has been successfully regulating this industry for a decade now. It can be done.”