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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Isle of man contest

The decision by the Isle of Man comes amid a trade dispute over Internet gambling between the United States and Antigua. The Antiguans have complained to the World Trade Organization that Washington is violating its trade obligations by prohibiting Internet gambling.
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In November, the WTO issued a preliminary ruling in favor of Antigua. Last Friday, the office of the United States trade representative filed a notice of appeal, asserting that long-standing American trade policy and social mores were consistent with a prohibition of online gambling.

The deadline for the United States to file its first brief in the appeal is tomorrow, according to lawyers involved in the case.

The WTO has 90 days from last Friday's notice of appeal to issue a decision.

Last year, some $7.6 billion was lost in wagers over the Internet, an analyst said, about half of that by United States residents.

Many countries, including Britain, license and regulate online casinos. The level of regulation differs widely, with some countries enforcing more rigorous regulations as a way of helping the casinos there establish themselves as reputable.

The policies also differ as to whether they accept bets from Americans. What they have in common is a desire to attract more Internet casinos, the analysts said.