The licensing and regulation of online gambling services on the islands of Antigua and Barbuda is handled by the Financial Services Regulatory Commission’s Division of Gaming. The FSRC Gaming Division awards two types of licenses: interactive gaming (casino games and poker) and interactive wagering (sports betting).
Applicants must provide a non-refundable deposit of USD $10,000 for due diligence plus an additional USD $1,000 per key person.
The annual license fee for interactive gaming is USD $75,000 and the annual license fee for interactive wagering is USD $50,000. Key person licenses are USD $1,000 the first year, and USD $250 in renewal years. There is an annual USD $5,000 renewal application fee for online gaming and sports betting licenses, with additional charges if investigation fees exceed that amount.
In June of 2003 Antigua and Barbuda initiated the dispute process of the World Trade Organization against the U.S. Antigua argued that the U.S.’s restrictive Internet gambling policies constitute a violation of an international pact called the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).
In November of 2004 a WTO dispute panel ruled that the U.S. does indeed give preferential treatment to its domestic remote gambling operators in violation of the GATS. Following an appeal by the U.S., the Appellate Body of the WTO issued a similar ruling in April of 2005. The U.S. was then given a one-year period in which to bring its laws into conformity with the GATS, which it could do either by giving Antiguan operators access to the U.S. market or by shutting down its domestic remote horse race wagering operators.
The compliance deadline of April 3, 2006 passed without any U.S. action. In fact, U.S. legislators actually worked to pass contrary legislation and were eventually successful in passing a bill aimed at prohibiting online gambling altogether in September of 2006.
On March 30, 2007, Antigua won its battle with the United States after the Dispute Settlement Body of the WTO ruled that the U.S. had failed to comply with the 2005 ruling against prohibitions on Internet gambling.
Antigua and Barbuda sought to claim $3.4 billion in compensation from the United States and also requested permission from the WTO to suspend its obligations regarding U.S. copyrights, trademarks, industrial designs and patents.
In December of 2007 the WTO granted $21 million in annual trade sanctions to Antigua as compensation for damages. The U.S. responded by requesting that Antigua and Barbuda delay implementing the sanctions as a formal process had been initiated to revise American trade obligations under the WTO treaty. Negotiations continued throughout 2008, and at the final meeting in January of 2009 between Antigua’s Finance Minister and United States Trade Relations representatives under the Bush administration, an agreement was still not reached.