Sunday, December 11, 2005
NTRA calls for authorisation of Internet gambling in the U.S.

At the Annual Symposium on Racing and Gaming in Tucson, Arizona last week, NTRA Vice-President Greg Avioli told participants that the preferred response by the U.S. administration to the WTO gambling ruling would be to authorize and regulate Internet gambling.

Formally, the U.S. government has until 3 April 2006 to implement the WTO ruling in the case Antigua vs. U.S.A. on the latter’s restrictions on foreign, online access of the U.S. gambling and betting market. In WTO reality, deadlines for implementing rulings are hardly ever met.

"There are various options open for the government to comply with the ruling", according to Avioli, "but the most important is that we preserve that right of Internet gambling on horse racing because it's our fastest form of revenue growth. Of the estimated US$15 billion expected to be betted on horse racing this year, US$2 billion will be in Internet betting."

In response to Avioli's comments, Mark Mendel, the attorney who represented Antigua to the WTO, promoted the position of the soft jurisdiction as a future center of global online gaming.

The position of the IFHA on this matter is clear; each country has to decide for itself, in consideration of its own values on public order, public morality and money laundering, what laws it deems necessary. At the moment, many gambling operators choose Antigua and other soft jurisdictions to escape the rules and regulations of those countries whose citizens they seek as client.

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