Saturday, April 07, 2007

Antigua Triumphs over U.S. in WTO Trade Dispute

The worst kept secret concerning poker became official about a week ago, when the World Trade Organization [WTO} announced what everyone already knew: Antigua's complaint that the United States remained in violation of the WTO's free-trade accords was upheld. While the U.S. is expected to make one last appeal of this final decision, it isn't going to change anything.

But the bigger question becomes, what next? First, the U.S. isn't going to just scuttle the UIGEA in response to this, without a whole lot more strong-arming from international forces. The U.S. will very likely choose to interpret the WTO's findings in the narrowest scope possible, meaning that our government will modify some tiny code as it relates to horseracing only, as that was the basis of the complaint. This will be despite the fact that the WTO's decision mentioned the UIGEA's passing specifically in its followup on the matter, and all but accused the United States of openly defying its own trade agreements in the matter. In fact, the WTO's statement on that seems to be an invitation to other countries to just step up and take another crack, with the WTO willing to assist.

We'll see who else sends in the RSVP.

As for Antigua, it currently lacks the economic muscle to do much with its victory, though it could ask for the intellectual-rights abrogration called for as a penalty in these matters, and threaten to set up a fully-legal pirate-DVD shop or something similar. China, Japan, and the European Community all signed up as interested third parties to the Antigua complaint, so you've got to believe someone might be exploring the angles... and when there's billions at stake, you know there are more chapters waiting to be written.

So it's wait-and-see time. What Antigua does likely hinges on what sort of a deal the nation can create for itself, working with other countries. As for the U.S., they've got the world's best climbing tools but they're scaling a greased pool, and a new wave of ooze is in sight.

* Many quality online poker rooms are serving U.S. Poker Players even though the publicly traded companies, like PartyGaming and 888 exited the market. Rooms like, and others are considered U.S. Online Poker Rooms

No comments: