Antigua calls Black Friday illegal

wtoThe fallout from Black Friday has been widespread and reactions to the DoJ indictments have come from all angles. Most recently, Reuters reported that Antigua and Barbuda officials are considering action in the World Trade Organization against the United States.

Antigua and Barbuda officials say that the United States violated global trade law by shutting down Internet gambling sites based in Antigua and elsewhere and prosecuting their owners.

Last week’s shutdown of the three biggest online poker sites has added more fuel to fire of outrage in the Caribbean nation over the United State’s blatant disregard for global trade law.

The charge that Antigua and Barbuda officials are bringing is one that has been brought before, it contends that U.S. attacks against foreign betting sites are illegal and protectionist.

Mark Mendel, legal advisor to the Caribbean government told Reuters, “I don’t think there’s another country in the world that puts people in jail for engaging in trade that’s lawful under international law…It’s as if Antigua would put Americans in jail for selling pineapples.”

Antigua’s finance minister, Harold Lovell, issued a statement on Wednesday as quoted by Reuters,”I am concerned that at this point in time United States authorities continue to prosecute non-domestic suppliers of remote gaming services in clear contravention of international law.”

Many have viewed the events of Black Friday as an illegal attempt by the US to shutdown competition, but at the end of the day, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this have we? And for Antigua, this is just another round of grievances they can chalk up against the United States.

In April 2005, the WTO ruled in favour of Antiguan online gambling companies offering services to consumers in America, and against US protectionism. The WTO “ordered” the United States to comply either by lifting its ban on foreign operators or by withdrawing a “discriminatory” exemption for US online horse racing betting sites, within 18 months…Yeah, that did nothing.

So really, is anyone surprised that the US doesn’t care one lick about the WTO?