|Thursday, April 07, 2005
|Contact: Maurits Bruggink
|WTO allows US to keep online gambling restrictions
Today, the WTO (World Trade Organisation) give the final verdict in a dispute between Antigua and the US over US laws that restrict internet gambling.
The verdict was made by the so-called WTO Appellate Body, who issued a 146 page report today. A first reading of the report learns us that the WTO Appellate Body believes that the US in principle committed itself to cover gambling under WTO rules. However, the US convinced the Appellate Body that the restrictions to the free movement of remote gambling services were necessary to protect public morals or maintain public order.
The Appellate Body’s ruling is the end of the WTO procedure, which started some time ago. There is no further appeal possible against this ruling.
The final ruling is a victory for the US and confirms that public moral and public order are justifications to restrict cross-border online betting. The IFHA welcomes this point as it believes that gambling should be left to the jurisdictional integrity of each country.
The IFHA will undertake further action at international level to get full acceptance of this principle. Remote betting operators should once and for all be stopped offering bets to people living in countries where this is forbidden by law. The WTO ruling is a welcome confirmation of this principle.
The full Appellate Body Report can be found at: http://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news_e.htm
The US’ official response can be found at: http://www.ustr.gov/Document_Library/Press_Releases/2005/April/U.S._Internet_Gambling_Restrictions_Can_St_as_U.S._Wins_Key_Issues_in_WTO_Dispute.html
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