US Scores With Only $21M in WTO Sanctions

Antigua sought $3.4B for online betting ban; US talks revising treaty
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 21, 2007 4:13 PM CST
WTO Director General, Frenchman Pascal Lamy gestures as he waits for the opening of the General Council at the World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, July 27, 2007....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The WTO ruled today Antigua could impose $21 million in trade sanctions on the US because of an online betting ban, a significant loss for the Caribbean island that had sought $3.4 billion. The trade organization recognized the American authority to police public morals but said Washington could not hold domestic and foreign gamblers to different standards, the AP reports.

The US Trade Representative had argued Antigua deserved only $500,000 in compensation but was “pleased that the figure arrived at…is over 100 times lower” than the claim sought. The betting ban is still illegal, though, under international treaty, and the US—concerned that Antigua might retaliate through looser local enforcement of US copyright violations—wants to renegotiate the terms of the main WTO agreement.