Friday, December 02, 2005

Antigua to expand e-gaming industry

Antigua to expand e-gaming industry
This is interesting as the Caribbean is starting to move forward in the digital world following WSIS. Why is the US looking to stop it? They've already killed most of the agriculture. Should we only rely on Tourism? I think not. Let Antigua move ahead and more power to them. I hope though that they will ensure that the benefits are put back into the country to increase the wealth - education, public works,etc.

Dec 2, 05: ST JOHNS, Antigua: Antigua will continue developing its Internet gambling industry despite pressure from the United States to prohibit the practice, the finance minister said Wednesday.

Finance Minister Errol Cort said at least 10 new online gambling companies will open on the Caribbean island next year, joining 14 others that already have been granted operating licenses.

Cort said the new companies will generate some 500 new jobs and more than US$2 million (euro1.7 million) in gambling licenses fees.

The United States contends that Internet gambling should be prohibited because it violates some U.S. state laws. Antigua says the U.S. position is contrary to global trade rules.

Antigua's has taken the dispute to the World Trade Organization, which has yet to rule on the matter.

Addressing Parliament during his annual budget presentation, Cort said the government will tightly regulate Internet gambling to meet "the most stringent international ... practices."

No US federal law prohibits gambling, which is regulated by state law. In many states, gambling is banned or permitted with restrictions.

In 1996, when US lawmakers first sought to control Internet gambling, 30 Web sites received bets totaling US$30 million (euro25 million).

The Internet gambling market is expected to grow to US$18.4 billion (euro15.6 billion).

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