WTO investigates US online poker ban

Updated: April 23rd, 2011 by Dev Ops

After complaints by the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, the World Trade Organization is looking into the recent seizure of three online poker domain names by the US Department of Justice and the FBI that eventually led to PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker barring US players from their online poker sites.

Antigua’s complaint stems from the fact that gambling is legal in many parts of the United States, and that barring International operators from the market is in violation of free trade practices.

Mark Mendel, the Caribbean government’s legal adviser made a humorous analogy when he 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.”

In a less humorous statement, Antigua’s finance minister, Harold Lovell said, “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 people have voiced their concerns over the FBI and DOJ seizing a global .com domain name, and the WTO has chastised the US in the past over online gambling, and in 2005 gave the US the proverbial slap on the wrist after the US began cracking down on international corporations that were supplying online gaming to US residents.


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