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Dispute Settlement under the Gats: the Gambling and Telecoms Cases

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Chapter Summary

The original US - Gambling Panel found that certain U.S. federal and state laws against internet gambling violated the market access commitments of the U.S. under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). In ruling in favour of Antigua, the Panel rejected U.S. arguments that its measures were necessary to protect public morals, maintain public order, and enforce U.S. laws against organized crime and racketeering. The United States acknowledged that certain forms of gambling were legal domestically, but argued that internet gambling posed unique regulatory problems that required that this activity be largely prohibited. The WTO GATS has generated surprisingly little litigation to date. From the time of entry into force of WTO in January 1995 until the present(April 2007), there have only been two disputes that have dealt exclusively with GATS issues: US - Gambling and Mexico - Measures Affecting Telecommunications Services. This chapter provides an overview and commentary on each of these disputes.

Keywords: dispute settlement; General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS); internet gambling; market access; public order; racketeering; regulatory problems; telecommunication services; U.S. federal laws; WTO



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