We can ship our best jobs overseas or import goods made by slave or prison labor but Congress didn't care until they try to force *gambling* upon us...
Friday, March 26, 2004
U.S. online-gambling ban violates international trade laws, WTO rules
By MATT RICHTEL
THE NEW YORK TIMES
The World Trade Organization, in its first decision on an Internet-related dispute, has ignited a political, cultural and legal tinderbox by ruling that the U.S. policy prohibiting online gambling violates its obligations under international trade law.
The ruling by a WTO panel Wednesday is being hailed by online casinos operators overseas as a major victory that could force the United States to liberalize its laws.
But the Bush administration vowed to appeal the decision, and several members of Congress said they would rather have an international trade war or withdraw from future rounds of the World Trade Organization than have American social policy dictated from abroad.
"It's appalling," said Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va. "It cannot be allowed to stand that another nation can impose its values on the U.S. and make it a trade issue."
The decision stems from a case taken to the WTO in June by the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, which licenses 19 companies that offer sports betting and casino games such as blackjack over the Internet.
Antigua and Barbuda argued that U.S. trade policy does not prohibit cross-border gambling operations and that the United States would be hypocritical to do otherwise because it wants to allow American casino operations to operate land-based and Internet-based subsidiaries overseas.
It is not clear precisely why the WTO ruled in favor of Antigua and Barbuda, because the specifics remain confidential. The ruling covers only online casinos based on the islands, but other nations could seek similar rulings.