Waterloo, Canada – March 17 – Despite the U.S. government’s harsh legal efforts against, and political stigmatization of, the Caribbean online betting industry, virtual gambling is here to stay and industry entrepreneurs are finding political avenues to help ensure it.

Internet Gambling Offshore: Caribbean Struggles over Casino Capitalism, a new book by Dr. Andrew Cooper, Distinguished Fellow at The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), will be released in advance on March 18 at the International Studies Association (ISA) Annual Convention in Montreal, Quebec. It will be available in the U.K. by April and North America by May 2011.

Cooper looks at the development of an innovative and entrepreneurial Internet gambling economy in Antigua and the approach used by both the Antiguan and U.S. governments to fight for and against the industry, respectively.

It comes at an important time as law makers in national as well as state legislatures, from Nevada and New Jersey to Norway, debate the legality, and face the reality, of Internet gambling and its popularity.

 “Antigua’s offshore Internet gambling has faced harsh U.S. opposition, particularly from social conservatives holding moral objections, professional sporting organizations such as the NFL, and some U.S. politicians who oppose non-traditional gambling due to its lack of jurisdiction under U.S. regulation and taxes,” says Cooper.

In reality, what the U.S. attempted to frame as an offshore and pirate operation is an industry that at its peak provided more than 3,000 jobs and served as a mobilizing force within the Antiguan labour market given the associated high-tech applications and learning skills. Yet, the U.S. embarked on a concerted and coercive approach impacting several key individuals and third-party businesses involved in the industry, including payment delivery companies, according to Cooper.

Unique about this specific experience is that entrepreneurs who developed Antigua’s Internet gambling filed for redress to the U.S. judicial system, and also convinced the Caribbean country’s government, with limited diplomatic resources, to challenge the U.S. through the World Trade Organization based on the GATS provision agreed to by the latter.

 “Through the use of creative legal arguments articulated in Geneva as well as lobbying inside the U.S., they developed a type of transnational commercial diplomacy, a strategy that saw publicity as tool to legitimize their business and discredit the U.S.’s efforts,” says Cooper. “Resilient in the face of stigmatization, Antigua argued that small countries should be able to find spaces for viable niches.”

Drawing on the metaphor of Casino Capitalism developed by Susan Strange, Internet Gambling Offshore: Caribbean Struggles over Casino Capitalism highlights key political, diplomatic, and legal challenges of a ‘David’ taking on a ‘Goliath’ within the international political economy.

It provides valuable insight when considering the booming billion dollar industry that thrives in locations from Malta to Gibraltar and parts of Canada.

Dr. Andrew Cooper will be on hand at CIGI’s ISA booth to sign copies of his book between 12-1 p.m. and 4-5 p.m. on March 18. For more information on this publication, please contact [email protected] or visit www.cigionline.org.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Kevin Dias, Communications Specialist, CIGI
Tel: 519.885.2444, ext. 238, Email: [email protected]

The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) is an independent, nonpartisan think tank on international governance. Led by experienced practitioners and distinguished academics, CIGI supports research, forms networks, advances policy debate and generates ideas for multilateral governance improvements. Conducting an active agenda of research, events and publications, CIGI’s interdisciplinary work includes collaboration with policy, business and academic communities around the world. CIGI was founded in 2001 by Jim Balsillie, co-CEO of RIM (Research In Motion), and collaborates with and gratefully acknowledges support from a number of strategic partners, in particular the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. For more information, please visit www.cigionline.org.

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