Antigua and U.S. May be Close to Settling Online Poker Dispute

Antiguan officials say the U.S. may finally be ready to settle a 12-year-old trade dispute that stems from the U.S. blocking its citizen’s access to Antiguan online gambling sites. The issue may be settled by a $100 million payment from the U.S.

It’s been 12 years and the issue has gone before the World Trade Organization several times, but the U.S. may finally be ready to settle a trade dispute with Antigua over access to the island’s online gambling sites.

Charles Fernandez, Antigua’s Minister of International Trade and Foreign Affairs told local media he believes the U.S. may finally settle the dispute.

“We’re going to try and see how best we could move forward this issue,” he said. “I won’t be able to state publicly what our strategy is and what we are putting on the table…. What I can say is that I think we are at a stage now, where there is a serious commitment, or it seems to me, there’s a serious commitment on both sides to work as quickly as possible to settle this issue.”

Antigua charged that when the U.S. shut down their citizen’s access to Antigua’s online gambling websites in 2003, the country’s economy was severely impacted. The U.S. currently bans overseas sites from operating in the country. Antiqua took the dispute to the WTO and won several favorable rulings, but the U.S. has not changed its stance.

Antigua, however, is reportedly ready to settle for a single payment of $100 million. Fernandez will meet with US Trade Representatives this week.