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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 July 2006, 15:49 GMT 16:49 UK
WTO investigates US betting row
Poker chips and playing cards
The online gaming sector has been hit hard by the US arrest
A new panel is to investigate whether US restrictions on internet gambling breach world trade rules.

US laws banning interstate betting over the internet will be examined by the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The Caribbean state of Antigua and Barbuda, host to many online casinos, has been in a long-running battle with the US over the legality of its stance.

The WTO earlier found that some of the US laws were not in line with trade rules, though others were permissible.

The Antiguan authorities asked for the panel to be set up after negotiations with the US broke down.

The panel has 90 days to report on how the US is complying with earlier WTO rulings.

Trade partners who fail to implement WTO rulings often find themselves hit by sanctions - for example, extra tariffs on their exports.

Turmoil

Antigua and Barbuda says the prohibitions are hampering the country's economy.

It has invested heavily in the industry in a bid to lessen its reliance on the tourism sector.

It says three US laws are preventing companies from legally accepting bets from the US.

The WTO announcement comes during a week of turmoil for the online gambling industry, after the boss of Betonsports was detained in the US on charges of racketeering.

Chief executive David Carruthers, 48, was named in an indictment in Missouri after an investigation into online gaming.

The news sent shockwaves through the industry and sent share prices plummeting.


SEE ALSO
Q&A: Gambling in the spotlight
18 Jul 06 |  Business
US arrest hits web gaming shares
17 Jul 06 |  Business
US and Antigua dispute WTO ruling
07 Apr 05 |  Business
WTO rules against US gambling ban
11 Nov 04 |  Business
Country profile: Antigua and Barbuda
13 Apr 06 |  Country profiles

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