US Poker Players Crusade Headed To WTO

The Department Of Justice’s recent shutdown of the three biggest online poker sites in America has succeeded in drawing the ire of millions of US poker players, as well as businesses connected to the industry.
Coming close to the top of the irate list is the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda, who is now considering going to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in order to seek sanctions against the US.
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Absolute Poker is actually based in Antigua and aside from tourism, online gambling is the next biggest employer on the island. In 2007, the WTO had ruled that international agreements on trade had been violated by the US who had prosecuted offshore online gambling sites.
The WTO then assessed the country was losing around $21 million annually as a result of US action instead of the $3.4 billion each year originally claimed by Antigua. Consequently, the WTO sanctioned Antigua suspending an equivalent amount each year in intellectual property rights held by American firms.
Now, the Caribbean nation is seriously considering returning to the WTO once more following last week’s shock indictments of PokerStars, Full Tilt and Absolute Poker by the FBI.
Responding to the allegations against these poker rooms, Antigua’s lead counsel Mark Mendel commented:
“I don’t think there’s another country in the world that puts people in jail for engaging in trade that’s lawful under international law. It’s as if Antigua would put Americans in jail for selling pineapples.”
The country’s finance minister, Harold Lovell further echoed Mendel’s opinion on Wednesday after issuing a statement labelling ‘Black Friday’ an illegal attempt by the US government to eliminate the competition. He stated:
“I am concerned that at this point in time United States authorities continue to prosecute non-domestic suppliers of remote gaming services in clear contravention of international law.”
Antiguan officials said they would soon meet to discuss whether to return to the WTO to seek redress against the US. However, ultimately the WTO doesn’t possess the power to force a member country to alter its laws and so the US government would still be unlikely to drop its prosecution of the big three poker rooms.

Other news:   Multi-state online poker compact bill introduced in Pennsylvania

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