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August 23, 2007

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Per Kurowski

Well if we open up the can of the not-originally-intended-inclusions then I guess we also would need to open that of the not-originally-intended-outcomes and that could really wipe away the whole WTO structure.

But of course something has to be done. For instance when you say redress the balance by restoring the residual rights to the domestic polity”, what is domestic? The US wanting to have the right to enforce prohibition against legal gambling on the web or Antigua who might have sacrificed everything else just in order to carve itself out a market niche in online gambling.

Also when you refer to “under multilaterally designed and monitored institutional safeguards (to minimize risks of protectionist capture)” do you mean a bureaucratic negotiation process or are you more thinking of a bidding? … where anyone could have the right to bid for Antigua’s “rights” to spread online gambling in the US but where after the round of biddings the US would retain the first option right…if it of course pays up to Antigua the winning bid. Should Antigua then be able to retire on this?... and then suffer the WTO curse?

Perhaps what we need is a twelve man jury that after a publicly televised process decides, in the name of the principle of keeping free trade free, whether the US is right in its claims and by how much it should compensate Antigua. Whatever… don’t solve it in small, dark and smoky rooms.

Jonathan Dingel

According to I. Nelson Rose, other countries specifically excluded gambling from the recreational services portion of GATS at the Uruguay Round, so I think that this is then better characterised as an error by the USTR than an intrusion into domestic policy space by the WTO.

See http://tinyurl.com/2zcth8

Moreover, the source of American outrage is not the WTO's ruling, but Antigua's requested remedy: open season on American IP.

See my post at http://tinyurl.com/2c9ckv

Per Kurowski

Thanks to Jonathan Dingel reminding (or in my case informing) us with his links on the “except sporting” bit of it all.

I mean now with David Beckham going to LA Galaxy but neither Manchester United or Real Madrid being allowed to operate in the US soccer market, it could be a propitious moment to break some deadlocks in WTO on some service and mode 4 issues.

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I think that this is then better characterised as an error by the USTR than an intrusion into domestic policy space by the WTO.


Is the error made by the USTR not making a gambling exception, or agreeing to the broad language in the GATT/WTO agreements at all?

I ask, to illustrate a simple point. Blaming the USTR does not really solve the problem, now does it?

Further, do you have any evidence that suggests that other countries that including gambling exceptions did so because of a concern about online gambling in particular?

Jonathan Dingel

Mr. Impressive and I have a lengthier exchange over at my blog - http://tinyurl.com/2c9ckv

In short, that USTR error rather than WTO mission creep is responsible for this ruling does not diminish the public policy importance nor increase the likelihood of successfully resolving the dispute. But it alters the context of the discussion about residual rights.


Online gambling is a type of gambling, and the first online casino opened in 1995 (http://kyroslaw.com/articles/online_gambling_law.html), so it's reasonable to believe that this issue may have been anticipated by those writing gambling exceptions. But I have not seen any literature describing this aspect of the Uruguay Round, besides the link to Prof. Rose's work above.

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