|Friday, January 07, 2005
|Contact: Maurits Bruggink
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|Horseracing supports US appeal against WTO gambling ruling
The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities today welcomed the decision by the US government to appeal the recent WTO Panel Ruling against the US ban on foreign gambling services.
The WTO Panel Ruling is the result of the proceedings that the Caribbean Island state Antigua & Barbuda started against the US for its bans on foreign gambling services. A WTO Panel ruled on 10 November 2004 that the US laws are in conflict with US international trade commitments, notably made within the 1994 General Agreement on Trade in Services. The WTO ruling is binding, but the US Trade Representative decided today to appeal the ruling.
“We strongly support the national integrity over betting policies and rules” says Louis Romanet IFHA President and Director General of France Gallop, ”these policies should not be left to international bodies and the principles of free trade. Gambling is simply not a service like any other, but will have to be regulated according to the specific perceptions of moral, public order and consumer protection in each individual country.”
"In addition to our concerns over national integrity, we are also displeased about the lack of Intellectual Property rights protection in Antigua & Barbuda” adds Alan Marzelli, IFHA Vice President and CEO of The Jockey Club (US), “betting companies can operate from these islands while pirating our racing data. There is no excuse for hosting websites that do not pay any license for the horseracing data upon which they base their business model.”
The appeal procedure will result in a final ruling, which may take until May 2005. The IFHA will call upon WTO member states, in particular those who are formal observers in the case, namely Japan, Canada, Chinese Taipei, the European Union and Mexico, to support the US in its appeal.
Notes to the editor:
The IFHA is the single representative body for the global racing industry with membership comprising the racing authorities in over 50 countries, including all the main racing nations. It was formally established in 1993 to harmonize the rules of member countries regarding breeding and racing in order to maintain the integrity of each and protect the welfare of industry participants both human and equine. It now also elaborates common principles on wagering.
The US decision will be posted at www.wto.org and www.USTR.gov. The current US decision to appeal gives the main elements of appeal. A detailed notice of appeal will be sent to the WTO on Friday, 14 January.
The WTO panel report can be found at http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/285r_e.pdf
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