Antigua was awarded $21 million in sanctions from the US over a law (UIGEA) that breaks WTO rules. Antigua won their case at the WTO and claimed they should be compensated up to $3.4 billion per year to replace their lost revenue stream.
The $21 million Antigua won in arbitration today was $3.38 billion less than they had desired and $20.5 million more than the US claimed they owed the small island nation.
The sanctions will allow Antigua to offer pirated copies of music, movies, and software from the United States, but the amount they will be allowed to pirate will not have a significant effect on any American industry.
The world-wide online gambling industry, estimated to be worth more than $10 billion per year, was hoping these sanctions were so strong that the likes of Microsoft, Time Warner, and Disney would be forced to speak up to challenge current US Internet gambling laws.
The Internet gambling community will take this as one of the final blows in its fight to restore freedom and fair trade across the world. The only hope for the industry now is the iMEGA case in the US that challenges the UIGEA law, and Barney Frank’s bill HR 2046, meant to legalize online gambling. Neither situation offers too much hope in an industry that has taken one hard left to the stomach too many over the past two years.
Comments from Antigua attorney Mark Mendel and US WTO spokeswoman Gretchen Hamel are still being awaited.