USA Hypocrisy, The WTO, and Internet Gambling Law

We’ve discussed the United States hypocrisy on Internet Gambling before, but this story from the Washington Post really takes the cake.

The story is a fascinating read – well worth dealing with the fact that it is annoying split up into 3 pages. In a nutshell, Antigua filed a World Trade Organization suit against the United States for trade treaty violations following the 2004 prosecution and conviction of an Antigua Internet Sports Book owner.

Antigua won the suit but the U.S. has thus far ignored the ruling.

The WTO cannot force a country to do anything. Even if found guilty, a country can refuse to change its trade practices. The WTO largely enforces its rulings by giving the victorious country the right to impose punitive duties on the loser’s products.

That enforcement mechanism works for big, rich countries such as the United States because other nations fear losing the vast U.S. market. But Antigua’s economy is so tiny that few U.S. companies would notice.

“The WTO gives the little guys clout, but it cannot guarantee symmetry of justice,” said Claude Barfield, a trade expert at the American Enterprise Institute.

So the Antiguans plan to ask the WTO for the right to impose sanctions that would hurt — namely, permission to copy and export U.S.-made DVDs, CDs and similar material. Hollywood is not amused.

From the article, it seems that this case may have been the impetus for the recent push for an Internet Gambling ban. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement act was approved by the House of Representatives 317-93 on July 11, 2006. Although it has passed the house, perhaps the Republicans in the Senate will realize that alienating 23 million online poker players while the President’s approval rating hovers around 30% might not be the best political strategy.

What can you do? Well, if you believe that individual liberty should win out over government intrusion, if you want a smaller government instead of a Big Brother Nanny State, or if you’re just sick of all the bad laws that have been passed lately then call your Senator today.

Tell him to get his head out of his ass long enough to stop this bad legislation from becoming law. Tell him if he doesn’t, you and your 40 beer drinking buddies, who normally never bother to vote, are going to make it a point to vote againts his party down the line this November.

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3 Responses to “USA Hypocrisy, The WTO, and Internet Gambling Law”

  1. Andrew Johnson says:

    Antigua may not have much influence, but what about the UK? Is there any indication that they may file a WTO complaint over the Betonsports fiasco?

    Talk about hypocrisy, the United States recently permitted former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami, a supporter of terrorism and human rights abuser, to have an unrestricted tour the country. Yet, an executive for a publicly traded company is arrested for making the simply mistake of switching airplanes in the US.

    I expect government officials and agencies to screw up a lot. What bothers me is when they are not held accountable.

  2. nnet says:

    Didn’t you know that the US Government considers internet gambling and software/ music piracy a far greater threat to the well being of its citizens than terrorism and paedophilia? after all, Washington State for example has more punitive online gambling laws than it has for child pornography!

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