Antigua, US resolving Online Poker Dispute - Scott Tom in Trouble?

by Jeremy Olson on January 5, 2016

The United States and Antigua and Barbuda have reportedly made a financial agreement that would end their online poker feud. While the financial details haven’t been made public yet, the deal looks to end a dispute that’s been going on for over a decade.

Antigua once derived a large portion of its income from online gaming sites that served American citizens. But in the early 2000s, the U.S. began arguing that gambling transactions initiated outside Antigua should be subject to the laws of the country where they occurred. The World Trade Organization (WTO) said that this was incorrect, but the U.S. went ahead and passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006, which forced banks to stop accepting online gaming transactions.

This was a huge blow to Antigua’s economy, and they took the matter back to the WTO, demanding $3.5 billion from the U.S. The WTO ruled that the UIGEA violated free trade laws, but set the repayment amount at $21 million per year. Given that American has never made payments, the WTO later ruled in 2013 that Antigua could sell digital copy produced anywhere in the U.S.

This also never came to fruition, but the two nations appear close to resolving the issue anyway. Antigua and Barbuda Foreign Affairs Minister Charles ‘Max’ Fernandez has received a proposal from the U.S. that’s expected to finally end the matter.

Interestingly enough, this brings us to another subject regarding Scott Tom. The UB Poker founder has been hiding out in Antigua ever since his poker site went down along with an estimated $20 million in American player funds. UB couldn’t cover these funds after Black Friday (April 15, 2011), so Tom fled to Antigua to avoid prosecution.

Antigua has of course refused to extradite Tom because of their relationship with America. But perhaps this will now change with Antigua and the US ending their feud.