to: WSJ EU Edition
re: Time to Fold April 10/08
Hellow WSJ European Edition,
We've been tracking for some time now developments in the slow-burn trade dispute between Antigua and the U.S. over America's remote gambling ban, which many in the industry now refer to and not affectionately as Prohibition 2.0. Many of us are still catching our breath after the wildly disappointing result obtained in the arbitrator's report at Christmas when panelists slashed Antigua's claim of $3.4 billion - a figure arrived at by a legion of actuaries - to a paltry $21 million using a bizarre, utterly unprecedented legal approach we call the Four-Flusher Fantasy.
Imagine our delight at the prospect of a similar GATS-breach discrimination challenge (as distinguished from the GATS-slash compensation claimed by eight nations after the U.S. determined pig-headedly to remove gambling services from the agmt) by the European Communities (EC)! The EC will no doubt profit from Antigua's groundbreaking double-win and, post-UK Gambling Bill and the creation of various agencies overseeing it, there won't be the hang-up over licensing and other regulatory issues cited in the report as the reason for Antigua's massive reduction. As the great British humorist P.G. Wodehouse might have put it, this EC challenge is a good thing that should be pushed along.
What's currently most interesting to us about this case is the conspicuous absence of argument either by Antigua or the EC that online gambling is quite simply greener and better for the planet than traditional brick and mortars, development of which threatens and destroys fragile eco-systems in places like Antigua, most often leaking profits back to foreign companies. We've recently compiled a series of excerpts from books and articles worldwide on combatting climate change. We've also launched a Gamble Green Challenge to players in which we've agreed to donate a portion of our earnings to the David Suzuki Foundation for climate change research.
At the end of the day, it is international trade that provides a sort of 'greenprint', if you will, to facilitate and encourage all of us to make the best economic and ECO-cost-effective decisions about the use of resources. That's why the U.S. decision in this case is even more reprehensible. More and still more, still bigger super-casino resorts wreak so much hell on the environment and fragile local economies, it just makes no sense to encourage their proliferation. On the other hand, allowing Internet gambling, a cleaner, greener and probably much safter service, has the potential to create tremendous wealth and better-paid service jobs - even in local economies of developing nations.
Another 'inconvenient truth': Online gambling is greener and better for the planet than traditional brick-and mortar casinos.
The Roll & Shuffle
Tracking all aspects of gambling and gambling law worldwide.