Mark Mendel, winning trade attorney for Antigua & Barbuda in their WTO case against the United States – over a protectionist US Internet gambling law passed in late 2006 – said today that he expects a decision on their $3.4 billion per year compensation claim from a WTO panel on November 30th.
Mendel told the three person WTO panel that Antigua should be paid $3.4b per year in compensation from the US for lost revenues as a result of the new US prohibition. The US responded by saying that at the very most they will pay $500,000 in compensation, because $3.4b is more than Antigua’s entire yearly economy.
Many in the gambling industry, and those in the business community in the UK, and other prominent places around the world who are following this case closely, took the $500,000 remark by the US trade rep. as an insult.
Gordon Price, gambling analyst for Casino Gambling Web, believes still that, “many companies around the world are fearful of the US” He followed with, “actions in this case even though the other countries have right on their side.”
Mendel said today, however, that the money made from online gambling in Antigua is not reported in their yearly economy statistics, and he insisted that the $3.4 billion claim was justified.
He said the companies who operate out of Antigua do not report their profits to the government (they do not have to by Antigua law) in fear that the US will go after the company employees and owners.
The exact number the three person WTO panel comes up with may not be $3.4 billion, it could be more or it could be less, but Mendel strongly believes it will not be near the $500,000 the US said it should be.
Mendel and his clients are actually already planning on how to implement the sanctions for their compensation claims.
He told the Antigua Sun that the publicly mentioned methods, such as selling copyrighted materials, are not nearly the only methods they will use to retain the money owed to them as declared by the WTO on November 30th.
“We haven’t fully and completely flushed out precisely what we’re going to do or how we’re going to do it. There is no rush to do it. I think once we get it, it’ll be a pretty big weapon in our hands and we can take our time in deciding how to apply it,” Mendel said.