Costa Rica, US Reach WTO-Related Agreement
Costa Rica has reached a settlement with the US regarding Costa Rica’s outstanding claim as an affected party in the WTO judgment received by Antigua and Barbuda against the US. Antigua’s WTO judgment ($21M annually) concerned access to certain online-gambling markets, and Costa Rica was one of several countries that filed as an affected party in that matter. The new settlement, as reported in several Costa Rican outlets and made by Costa Rican Comercio Exterior minister Marco Vinicio Ruiz, maintains the US’s restrictions toward online gambling but opens up other WTO markets and opportunities to Costa Rica. Though of debatable real value, the
new opportunities for Costa Rica will be in research and development, warehousing, testing and technical analysis and certain postal and courier services.
Continuing IGREA Hearings to be Scheduled for April
A recent release by the Safe and Secure Gambling Initiative states that Congressman Barney Frank (D-CT) will again hold hearings in April, as part of his effort to build support for his proposed Internet Gambling and Regulation Enforcement Act (IGREA). Frank downplayed the importance of the hearings in a comment made for SSGI. Frank noted that the banking industry faces enormous challenges at the moment, such as the housing and mortgage crises, “The banks have a lot of other things to worry about right now,” said Frank. “I do not think poker should be one of them.”
McDermott Formally Introduces IGRTEA
Congressman James McDermott (D-WA) formally introduced his Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act of 2008 (IGRTEA). McDermott’s measure has been viewed as a supporting measure to Frank’s IGREA proposal, and has as of yet garnered less active support in Congress. Among the provisions of McDermott’s proposed bill: A 2% licensing fee on all online gambling companies offering their services to the US market, and a requirement forthese companies to provide annual profit/loss statements to U.S. customers.