The Trade of Cross-Border Gambling and Betting: The WTO Dispute Between Antigua and the United States

By: James D. Thayer

The first ecommerce dispute to come before the World Trade Organization (“WTO”) was billed to be one of David and Goliath proportion. The tiny twin-island nation-state of Antigua and Barbuda challenged the United States’ ban on cross-border Internet gambling and betting. As a result of the dispute, the WTO issued a private final report against the United States finding that the ban violates the United States’ commitments under the WTO. Shortly before the public release of the final report, both parties petitioned the WTO to indefinitely postpone its release so that the parties could engage in private negotiations. The final report is said to uphold the Panel’s interim report that found against the United States by, among other things, rejecting the United States’ claim that its ban on cross-border Internet gambling and betting does not violate its WTO obligations because the ban protects public morals. On October 28, 2004, the United States announced that the negotiations had broken down, and that it planned to appeal the Panel’s decision to the WTO Appellate Body. This iBrief sets forth the basic background of the dispute and argues that the Appellate Body will have to make at least three controversial findings to uphold the Panel’s ruling.

Cite: 2004 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0013

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