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Lawyers and other representatives

Arbitral Award

I. The Parties

1.
Claimant :

International Thunderbird Gaming Corporation

Thunderbird Greeley Inc.

11545 West Bernardo Court Suite 307 San Diego, CA 92127

United States of America

hereinafter: "Thunderbird" or "Claimant."

2.
Thunderbird is a publicly held Canadian Corporation, with its principal offices in San Diego, California, U.S.A.
3.
In these proceedings, Thunderbird is represented by its duly authorised attorney James D. Crosby, California, U.S.A, and by Professor Todd Weiler, Ontario, Canada.
4.
Respondent:

The United Mexican States

General Directorate of Legal Consulting of Negotiations Ministry of Economy Mexico, DF, Mexico

hereinafter: "Mexico" or "Respondent."

5.
In these proceedings, the government of Mexico is represented by Mr. Hugo Perezcano Diaz, Director General de Consultaría Jurídica de Negociaciones, Secretaría de Economía.

II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

6.
On 21 March 2002, Thunderbird submitted a "Notice of Intent to Submit a Claim to Arbitration Under Section B of Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement," alleging that Mexico had breached its obligations under the North American Free Trade Agreement ("Nafta"), more specifically under Article 1102 (National Treatment), Article 1103 (Most-Favoured Nation Treatment), Article 1105 (Minimum Standard of Treatment) and Article 1110 (Expropriation and Compensation) of the Nafta.
7.
On 1 August 2002 (and received by Mexico on 22 August 2002), Thunderbird submitted a Notice of Arbitration and Statement of Claim against Mexico pursuant to the provisions of Chapter Eleven of the Nafta and under the Uncitral Rules of Arbitration (the "Notice of Arbitration").
8.
In the Notice of Arbitration at 1(34, Thunderbird sought the following relief: "i. Damages of not less than USD$100,000,000; ii. Costs associated with these proceedings, including all professional fees and disbursements; iii. Pre-award and post-award interest at a rate to be fixed by the Tribunal; iv. Tax consequences of the award to maintain the integrity of the award; v. Such other and further relief that counsel may advise and that this Tribunal may deem appropriate."
9.
By letter dated 4 September 2002, Mexico raised objections regarding the language of the proceedings and alleged further that the Notice of Intent did not fully satisfy the Nafta requirements. Correspondence was subsequently exchanged between the Parties regarding Mexico’s objections.
10.
On 14 March 2003, the Arbitral Tribunal was constituted. The Tribunal is composed of Professor Dr. Albert Jan van den Berg (appointed as President of the Tribunal by the Secretary-General of ICSID), of Dutch nationality, residing in Tervuren, Belgium; Professor Thomas W. Wälde (appointed by Thunderbird), of German nationality, residing in Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom and Mr. Agustin Portal Ariosa (appointed by Mexico), of Mexican nationality, residing in Mexico DF, Mexico. Mr. Gonzalo Flores of ICSID was designated to serve as Secretary of the Tribunal.
11.
The first session of the Tribunal was held, with the Parties’ agreement, in Washington D.C. on 29 April 2003. During that session, after having heard the Parties’ arguments, the Tribunal informed the Parties that the arbitration would be conducted in the English and Spanish language; that the place of arbitration in the legal sense would be Washington, D.C.; and that Mexico was invited to inform Thunderbird and the Tribunal whether it pursued objections based on lack of jurisdiction and/or inadmissibility (the "Preliminary Question"), following which the Tribunal would issue a ruling on the question of bifurcation of the proceedings with respect to the Preliminary Question. It was agreed further that the Secretariat of ICSID would render administrative services in relation to the arbitral proceedings similar to those rendered in arbitrations under the ICSID Additional Facility Rules.
12.
Order No. 1 (by Consent) was issued by the Arbitral Tribunal on 27 June 2003, in which the sequence of the proceedings and a number of procedural matters were set out.
13.
On 29 May 2003, Thunderbird submitted a Request for Production of Documents; Mexico filed objections to said request on 27 June 2003. By Order No. 2 dated 31 July 2003, the Tribunal ruled on the Request for Production of Documents and offered Thunderbird the possibility to submit timely a renewed request that comported with Order No. 2.
14.
On 27 June 2003, Thunderbird filed a Motion to Obtain an Interim Measure under Article 1134 of the NAFTA. Mexico filed observations on Thunderbird’s motion on 17 July 2003. A telephone conference was held between the Tribunal and the Parties on 15 August 2003 to discuss Thunderbird’s motion. During the telephone conference, a number of practical aspects relating to Thunderbird’s motion were agreed, and in particular that the Parties would carry out a joint visit of the sites. The joint visit took place on 5-7 November 2003. By letter of 26 November 2003, the Tribunal accordingly informed the Parties that it considered Thunderbird’s motion to have become moot.
15.
On 15 August 2003, Thunderbird filed a Particularized Statement of Claim.
16.
On 27 August 2003, Thunderbird filed a Supplemental Request for Production of Documents, pursuant to Order No. 2; Mexico filed observations in response on 15 October 2003. By letter of 26 November 2003, the Tribunal informed the Parties that, in the absence of any reaction from Thunderbird, it inferred that the matter required no further action from the Tribunal.
17.
On 29 August 2003, Mexico filed a Supplementary Request for Production of Documents; Thunderbird responded thereto on 22 September 2003. Subsequent correspondence was exchanged between the Parties. On 11 December 2003, the Tribunal ruled on Mexico’s Supplementary Request (see Order No. 3).
18.
On 18 December 2003, Mexico filed an "Escrito de Contestación" (Statement of Defence), including "Excepciones de Incompetencia y Admisibilidad [Exceptions of Jurisdiction and Admissibility]."
19.
On 22 December 2003, Thunderbird filed a Submission on Whether to Bifurcate the Proceedings.
20.
Pursuant to Order No. 4 dated 24 December 2003, the Tribunal ruled that the Preliminary Question was joined to the merits and it invited the Parties to address the Preliminary Question in their forthcoming submissions.
21.
On 9 February 2004, Thunderbird filed a Statement of Reply.
22.
On 24 February 2004, Mexico submitted a further Request for Production of Documents. Thunderbird filed objections thereto on 3 March 2004. The Tribunal ruled on Mexico’s Request in Order No. 5 dated 12 March 2004.
23.
On 7 April 2004, Mexico filed a Statement of Rejoinder.
24.
On 9 April 2004, Thunderbird filed a Motion to Strike the Witness Statement of Professor Nelson Rose (submitted by Mexico); Mexico objected thereto on 14 April 2004. Thunderbird’s Motion to Strike was denied pursuant to Order No. 6 dated 19 April 2004.
25.
On 20 April 2004, a pre-hearing telephone conference was held between the Parties and the President of the Tribunal to discuss procedural matters relating to the Hearing; those matters were recorded in Order No. 7 dated 22 April 2004 (which was further supplemented by Order No. 8 dated 25 June 2004).
26.
On 26 through 29 April 2004, a hearing for oral argument and witness testimony took place at the offices of ICSID, Washington D.C. (the "Hearing"). For Thunderbird appeared: Mr. James D. Crosby, Professor Todd Weiler, and Mr. Carlos Gomez. For Mexico appeared: Mr. Hugo Perezcano Diaz, Ms. Alejandra Treviño and Mr. Luis Marin of Secretaria de Economia; Mr. Stephan E. Becker, Mr. Sanjay Mullik, Ms. Suzanne Wilkinson and Ms. Zuraya Tapia Alfaro of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP; and Mr. Christopher J. Thomas and Mr. J. Cameron Mowatt of Thomas & Partners.
27.
At the Hearing, testimony was heard from Mr. Jorge Montaño; Mr. Albert Atallah; Mr. Jack Mitchell; Mr. Peter Watson; Mr. Kevin McDonald; Mr. Luis Ruiz de Velasco; Mr. Steven M. Rittvo; and Mr. Carlos Gomez for Thunderbird. Testimony was heard from Professor I. Nelson Rose; Mr. Alberto Alcántara Martínez; and Mr. Luis Martinez for Mexico.
28.
The Government of Canada was represented at the Hearing by Mr. Roland Legault. The Government of the United States of America was represented at the Hearing by Mr. Mark S. McNeill.
29.
During the Hearing, the Tribunal circulated a draft tentative list of issues, which was subsequently revised pursuant to the Parties’ comments on the draft. The Parties addressed the list of issues in their Post-Hearing Memorials.
31.
On 21 May 2004, the Governments of the United States of America and Canada each filed a Submission pursuant to Article 1128 of the Nafta.
32.
On 2 August 2004, the Parties filed Post-Hearing Briefs.
33.
On 3 August 2004, the Parties filed a jointly prepared chronology of events.
34.
By letter of 3 August 2004, Thunderbird applied to the Tribunal to consider and admit new evidence regarding a complaint filed on 30 November 2001 with the Office of Internal Control of the Secretary of State of Mexico, and the latter’s response thereto on 20 July 2004. By letter of 6 August 2004, Mexico objected to Thunderbird’s request. By letter of 10 August 2004, Thunderbird applied to the Tribunal to consider and admit new evidence regarding the Bella Vista Entertainment Centre in Monterrey and the Reflejos facilities in Rio Bravo and Reynosa. By letter of 13 August 2004, further to its letter of 3 August 2004, Thunderbird requested the Tribunal to admit into evidence a copy of the Office of Internal Control file pertaining to the complaint. By letter of 17 August 2004, Mexico objected to the requests made by Thunderbird in its letters of 3, 10, and 13 August 2004.
35.
Mexico filed a cost submission on 12 August 2004. Thunderbird filed a cost submission on 26 August 2004.
36.
Pursuant to Order No. 9 dated 13 September 2004, the evidence submitted by Thunderbird in its letters of 3, 10, and 13 August 2004 was admitted into the record, without prejudice to the relevance, materiality and weight of the evidence in question.
37.
On 22 October 2004, Mexico filed further observations regarding the new evidence submitted by Thunderbird. On 5 November 2004, Thunderbird filed reply observations.
38.
On 19 November 2004, Mexico submitted a "Duplica al escrito de replica de la demandante"; On 22 November 2004, Thunderbird filed a Motion to strike Mexico’s submission. Pursuant to Order No. 10 dated 30 November 2004, Thunderbird’s motion to strike was denied and Thunderbird was afforded the possibility to submit a response to the "Duplica"; said response was filed by Thunderbird on 8 December 2004.
39.
The Tribunal deliberated on various occasions before issuing the Award.
40.
In this Award, the Tribunal shall use the following method of citation:

• "Notice of Intent" refers to Thunderbird’s 21 March 2002 Notice of Intent to Submit a Claim to Arbitration;

• "Notice of Arbitration" refers to Thunderbird’s 1 August 2002 Notice of Arbitration and Statement of Claim;

• "PSoC" refers to Thunderbird’s 15 August 2003 Particularized Statement of Claim;

• "SoD" refers to Mexico’s 18 December 2003 Statement of Defence;

• "SoR" refers to Thunderbird’s 9 February 2004 Statement of Reply;

• "SoRej" refers to Mexico’s 7 April 2004 Statement of Rejoinder;

• "Tr." refers to the Transcript made of the 26-29 April 2004 Hearing;

• "C-PHB" and "R-PHB" refer to the Post-Hearing Briefs filed by Thunderbird and Mexico on 2 August 2004.

III. Summary of Facts

41.
Thunderbird is engaged in the business of operating gaming facilities.
42.
In the period late 1999 to early 2000, according to Thunderbird, Mr. Jack Mitchell, president and CEO of Thunderbird, with the assistance of Mr. Peter Watson, an American attorney, initiated investigations concerning potential "skill machine" opportunities in Mexico. Meetings were held with Messrs. Doug Oien and Ivy Ong (of A-l Financial Ltd), both involved in gaming activities, and with Messrs. Julio Aspe and Oscar Arroyo, two Mexican attorneys who had allegedly represented a Mexican national, Mr. Jose Guardia, with respect to his gaming operations in Mexico.
43.
In the period April through June 2000, according to Thunderbird, Mr. Luis Ruiz de Velasco of Baker & McKenzie, Mexican counsel of Thunderbird, met with Messrs. Aspe and Arroyo to discuss procedures utilized by Mr. Guardia to defend his gaming operations against actions by the Mexican government, such as "amparo" proceedings (temporary injunctive relief), but concluded that such procedures would not provide Thunderbird with the certainty necessary to proceed with its proposed operations in Mexico.
44.
On 5 April 2000, Entertainmens de México S.A. de C.V. ("EDM") was formed by Messrs. Juan Jose Menendez Tlacatelpa and Alejandro Rodríguez Velazquez.
45.
On 1 May 2000, EDM entered into a lease for a location in Matamoros (which was revised and extended for 5 years on 20 July 2000).
46.
On 26 May 2000, Thunderbird and Messrs. Oien and Ong entered into a "Letter of Intent" regarding the operation of gaming facilities in Mexico.
47.
On 22 June 2000, Juegos de México Inc. ("JDMI") and A-l Financial Ltd. entered into a "Revenue Share and Consulting Agreement" regarding the operation of gaming facilities in Mexico.
48.
In July 2000, according to Thunderbird, following contacts between Messrs. Aspe and Arroyo and the Mexican government, Thunderbird decided to request an official opinion concerning the legality of its proposed gaming operations and if the response were favourable, Thunderbird would proceed with the opening and operation of its "skill machine" facilities in Mexico.
49.
On 31 July 2000, EDM imported 50 Bestco Model MTL19U-8L video gaming machines.
50.
On 3 August 2000, EDM presented a written request to the Director General de Gobierno de la Secretaria de Gobernación ("SEGOB") concerning its proposed gaming operations in Mexico (the " Solicitud"'). The full text of the Solicitud (English Translation submitted by Thunderbird) provides as follows (numbering between square brackets added):

JÚAN JOSÉ MENENDEZ TLACATELPA, legal representative of ENTERTAINMENS DE MÉXICO, S.A DE C.V. which accredits his personality by a certified copy of a notarized document attached hereby, and who has as conventional address, for receiving and hearing any type of communication and documents, Plaza Inverlat piso 12, Blvd. M. Avila Camacho n/ 1, C.P. 1 1009, Mexico D.F., authorizes, for this purpose, Mr. Luis Ruiz de Velasco y P. and with all respects I appear before you to say:

By the means of these writings, I come to request from you that this Dirección General give an opinion about the activities that the party I represent is carrying out and which consist in the commercial exploitation of video game machines for games of skills and ability in accordance with the following:

[1] Entertainmens de México, S.A. de C.V., is a legal entity incorporated in accordance with the Laws of the Republic of Mexico with the public deed 38,765, which was issued and granted by the Public Notary Number 53, Mr. Rodrigo Orozco Perez, in Mexico D.F. as in proven by the attached notarial affidavit; and which is also registered in the Federal Registry of Taxpayers under the symbol EME-000405 -LQ7.

[2] The entity which I represent opened a business, at Av. de las Rosas N° 70-A, Colonia Jardin in the city of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, under the commercial name "La Mina de Oro", which operates video game machines for games of skills and ability, and complies with all Municipal requirements.

[3] The video game machines for games of skills and ability, which the entity I represent commercially exploits, are devices for recreation which have been designed for the enjoyment and entertainment of its users. In these games, chance and wagering or betting is not involved, but the skills and abilities of the user who has to align different symbols on the machine screen by touching the screen or pushing buttons in order to stop the wanted symbol from several other symbols which spin in a sequential manner in each of the lanes or squares of each video game. The user has to align symbols in an optimum combination to receive a ticket with points which can be traded for goods or services; as this is already done at different locations in the country.

[4] The video game machines for games of skills and ability which we operate, at this present time at the place indicated above on this writings, are trademark Bestco, model MTL19U-8L and S.C.I. model 17"UR; and the entity I represent is trying to place about 2,000 (two thousand) more machines at other locations in the Republic of Mexico and these machines are of the same identical mechanical nature and functioning as those described in point 3, above.

[5] For all I have declared above, I come to this Dirección General requesting your opinion about the commercial activities which hereby I have detailed, and, therefore, you can express your opinion about the video game machines for games of skills and ability, which we have referred hereby, in order to determine if these games are regulated by the Ley Federal de Juegos y Sorteos.

[6] We are requesting an opinion from this Dirección General so the entity I represent has the certainty that the commercial exploitation of video game machines for games of skills and ability is legal; after an analysis of the nature of our machines, and the legal dispositions, we have concluded that our machines are not bound by Ley Federal de Juegos y Sorteos and, therefore, are not regulated by Secretaria de Gobernación or any other federal authority since the activity which this company is engaged in is not found within the faculties foreseen in Article 73, of Constitution General de la República and which in its Fraction X clearly indicates that the Congress of the Union has exclusive authority to legislate, in the whole of the Republic, about games with bets, wagers and drawings, and that the Executive Federal has the authority to regulate these activities; but in entertainment where skills and ability is involved, it is logical that these are not under federal authority since La Constitución General de la República doesn’t indicate that the Congress of the Union can exclusively legislate in such matters. Consequently, the authority to regulate this type of entertainment is not granted exclusively to the Federation, and, therefore, this is excluded from la Ley Federal de Juegos y Sorteos.

[7] The nature of video game machines for games of skills and ability is not games of chance or games with bets, wagers or drawings, since, in the operation of these machines, the player seeks entertainment and is playing with our machines assuming an active position where his intelligence, his willpower, his experience and his skills to optimally answer to specific stimulus with the object of finding a combination, effect or boast on the machine, intervene; which can only be possible with ability, experience and control over the machine, and all of this is for the purpose of entertainment and enjoyment, and at the time, the player can receive points that he can trade for a prize as a reward for the skills achieved and in no way as the result of chance.

[8] For this, it is clear to us, that is the skills and ability of the person who produces the effect over the videogame machine, and it is not the chance, the possibility, the fortune, or bet since the determinant to get results is the skills and ability of players; something very different from games of bets and wagers where there is a previous pact or covenant between the company and the user and, therefore, there is an agreement to handle an amount of money or any other thing, and all of this depends on a chance, on the unforeseen, or is not subject to the willpower or control of the user.

[9] For that declared above, we have concluded that our operation is not of the type prohibited by la Ley Federal de Juegos y Sorteos since our video game machines do not use chance, bets or wagers, and these video games are only for the purpose of entertainment in which the users can obtain prizes for their skills and abilities, and I’m requesting from this Dirección General your opinion about this.

51.
On 4 August 2000, EDM bought 30 SCI model 17" U R "máquinas de video para juegos de habilidad y destreza," which were imported on 14 August 2000.
52.
On 10/11 August 2000, JDMI acquired all EDM shares from Messrs. Tlacaltelpa and Velasquez. Mr. Mitchell was designated president of EDM’s board of directors.
53.
On 10 August 2000, EDM filed an "Aviso de Apertura," whereby it gave notice to local authorities of its intended operations in its Matamoros facility, called "La Mina de Oro."
54.
According to a draft letter dated 10 August 2000, Mr. Watson wrote to Messrs. Aspe and Arroyo to confirm payment of a "success fee" of US$300,000 upon delivery of a letter from SEGOB "which indicates that, according to the applicable laws of Mexico, there is no opposition or limitation to operate our skill machine venture in the Republic of Mexico." Thunderbird confirmed payment of US$300,000 in a signed letter dated 15 August 2000 to Messrs. Aspe and Arroyo.
55.
By letter dated 15 August 2000, SEGOB issued a formal response to Thunderbird’s Solicitud (the " Oficio"). The Oficio was signed by Rafael de Antunano Sandoval, Director de Juegos y Sorteos, in the name and on behalf of, Mr. Sergio Orozco Aceves, Director General of Government of SEGOB. The Oficio was copied to Messrs. Roberto Pedro Martinez Ortiz, Director General of Legal Affairs of SEGOB, and Sergio Orozco Aceves, Director General of Government of SEGOB. The full text of the Oficio (English translation provided by Thunderbird) provides as follows (numbering between square brackets added):

[1] Regarding your letter dated August 3, 2000, received on August 8, 2000 by the Directorate of Games and Sweepstakes, entity that depends from this Directorate, whereby you request this entity to issue a response regarding your representative’s exploitation of machines that operate under the concept of ability and skilfulness of its users, please be advised as follows:

[2] As you may be aware, the Federal Law of Games and Sweepstakes, establishes with precision diverse dispositions that prohibit gambling and luck related games within the Mexican territory. Article I of such law establishes that "... - All gambling and luck related games are prohibited within the Mexican territory, under the disposition of this law."

[3] Likewise, Article 3 of such law establishes that, "The federal executive branch, by means of the Ministry of State, shall supervise the regulation, authorization, control and vigilance of all games when such games contact gambling of any kind; as well as the sweepstakes, with the exception of the National Lottery, which shall be governed by its own law."

[4] In the same light, Article 4 of such law establishes that "in order to establish or operate any open or closed place, in which gambling games or sweepstakes take place, the Ministry of State shall authorize such establishments or operations, specifying the corresponding requirements and conditions to be fulfilled in every case."

[5] According to the above mentioned, the provisions established under the Federal Law of Games and Sweepstakes are enforceable legal dispositions that specifically prohibit gambling and luck related games within the Mexican territory; notwithstanding the above mentioned, according to your statement, the machines that your representative operates are recreational video game devices for purposes of enjoyment and entertainment of its users, with the possibility of obtaining a prize, without the intervention of luck or gambling, but rather the user’s ability and skilfulness.

[6] In this light, it is important to clarify that, if the machines that your representative exploits operate in the form and conditions stated by you, this governmental entity is not able to prohibit its use, in the understanding that the use of machines known as "coins-swallowers", "token-swallowers" or "slot machines", in which the principal factor of the operation is luck or gambling and not the user’s ability of skilfulness as you stated, could constitute any of the hypothesis described under the Federal Law of Games and Sweepstakes, with the corresponding legal consequences that may be derived therefrom, under article 8 of such law.

[7] In that view, and based on articles 27, section XXI of the Organic Law of the Federal Government; 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and other articles related and applicable to the Federal Law of Games and Sweepstakes; as well as articles 8 and 14, Section XVII of the Interior Regulations of the Ministry of State, thus Directorate, in accordance with the faculties previously conferred for such effect; warns you that in the machines that your representative operates there shall be no intervention of luck or gambling; warning that will not be in effect if the machines to be operated are video game devices that operate under the concept of ability and skilfulness.

[8] Please be advised that, even though the machines of your representative operate under the concept of the user’s ability and skilfulness, it is necessary that the obligations and requirements set by the laws and regulations of each state and/or municipality be met.

56.
On 16 August 2000, Thunderbird Greely, Inc., wired US$300,000 to an entity called "Consultoria Internacional Casa de Cambio, S.A. de C.V.," a Mexican Currency Exchange entity, for further credit to Rafael Ramos Velasco.
57.
On 17 August 2000, Thunderbird announced that it had entered into an agreement with JDMI to operate a business of "máquinas de destreza" of games and video in Matamoros.
58.
On 18 August 2000, according to Thunderbird, EDM-Matamoros opened "La Mina de Oro"
59.
On 25 August 2000, Mr. Ruiz de Velasco of Baker & McKenzie addressed a legal opinion to Mr. Mitchell of Thunderbird with respect to the 15 August 2000 Oficio, which provides as follows:

As requested, we hereby give you our opinion with respect to the official letter dated August 15, 2000, (the "Official Letter") issued by the Mexican Ministry of Interior (" Secretaria de Gobernación") in favour of Entertainmens de México, S.A. de C.V. ("EDM"), and which refers to the operation in Mexico of video game skill machines. Copy if the Official Letter and the English translation thereof is attached hereto.

Based on the principal terms of the Official Letter, the Ministry of Interior states that it does not have any jurisdiction over the operation of said machines, since in accordance with the representations made by EDM in its application, the video games skill machines to be operated by EDM do not fall into the classification of "slot machines", which are forbidden in Mexico pursuant to the applicable laws, in view of the fact that they are considered to be gaming and/or betting machines.

Furthermore, under the Official Letter the Ministry of Interior emphasizes that EDM can operate the video games skill machines as long as they do not become, in any manner whatsoever, as gaming or betting machines; provided; however, that EDM complies with the states and/or municipal laws or regulations in Mexico.

Based upon the foregoing, we are of the opinion that EDM is allowed to operate in Mexico the video game skill machines as long as EDM complies with the administrative requirements set forth by the state or municipal laws and regulations in Mexico.

Evenmore, in the event the Ministry of Interior intends to close down EDM’s operations, EDM will be able to appeal; in the understanding, that EDM must comply at all times with each and everyone of the requirements set forth by the competent authorities where the machines are operating.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

60.
In October 2000, Thunderbird formed Entertainmens de Mexico-Monterrey S. De R.L. de C.V. ("EDM-Monterrey"). Thunderbird’s intended Monterrey gaming facility never opened.
61.
In November 2000, JDMI and Thunderbird Brazil formed Entertainmens de Mexico Laredo S. de R. L. de C.V. ("EDM-Laredo").
62.
In December 2000, Mr. Vicente Fox’s administration came into office in Mexico. Mr. Jose Guadalupe Vargas Barrera was appointed the new "Director de Juegos y Sorteos"
63.
On 21 December 2000, Mr. Albert Atallah wrote to Messrs. Oien and Ong "to confirm that A-l Financial and its principals are no longer authorized to represent International Thunderbird Gaming Corporation, its affiliates and subsidiaries (including Entertainmens de Mexico) with respect to the Mexico Skill Game Operation" and stating, "Thunderbird does not believe that A-l Financial met its obligations contemplated by the original agreement."
64.
On 21 January 2001, EDM-Laredo opened a gaming facility in Nuevo Laredo.
65.
On 25 February 2001, SEGOB proceeded to an official closure of the Nuevo Laredo facility.
66.
On 16 March 2001, because of administrative irregularities affecting SEGOB’s order for official closure of Nuevo Laredo, SEGOB lifted the seals of the Nuevo Laredo facility. Thunderbird reopened the facility on 20 March 2001.
67.
On 12 April 2001, Thunderbird, Messrs. Oien, Ong and A-l Financial entered into a Termination Settlement and Release Agreement.
68.
On 5 June 2001, JDMI & Thunderbird Brazil formed Entertainmens de Mexico-Reynosa S. de R. L. de C.V. ("EDM-Reynosa").
69.
On 20 June 2001, Thunderbird formed Entertainmens de Mexico-Puebla S. de R.L. de C.V. ("EDM-Puebla"). Thunderbird’s intended Puebla gaming facility never opened.
70.
On 10 July 2001, an administrative hearing was held at the offices of the Director de Juegos y Sorteos in Mexico City (the "Administrative Hearing"). Thunderbird was represented at the Administrative Hearing by Messrs. Watson, Jorge Montaño, Mauricio Girault, Carlos Gomez and Mr. Ruiz de Velasco. Thunderbird submitted documentary evidence and witness testimony, and Mr. Kevin McDonald of SCI appeared and provided a briefcase-sized machine for demonstration. On SEGOB’s side, Mr. Guadalupe Vargas and Mr. Alcántara were present.
71.
On 13 July 2001, Thunderbird formed Entertainmens de Mexico-Juarez S. de R.L. de C.V. ("EDM-Juarez"). Thunderbird’s intended Juarez gaming facility never opened.
72.
In August 2001, EDM-Reynosa opened a gaming facility in Nuevo Laredo.
73.
On 10 October 2001, SEGOB issued a "Resolución Administrativa," declaring that the EDM machines were prohibited gambling equipment under the Ley Federal de Juegos y Sorteos and ordering the official closure of the EDM-Matamoros and EDM-Laredo facilities (the "Administrative Order"). The Administrative Order was signed by Mr. Humberto Aguilar Coronado, Director General of Government of SEGOB.
74.
On 11 October 2001, SEGOB proceeded to an official closure of the EDM-Matamoros and EDM-Laredo facilities.
75.
On 15 October 2001, EDM filed a "juicio de amparo" before the "Juez de Distrito en Tumo" seeking injunctive relief with respect to the official closure of the EDM-Laredo facility, which was denied by the court on 18 October 2001.
76.
On 23 October 2001, EDM filed a "juicio de amparo" before the Mexican District Court seeking injunctive relief with respect to the official closure of the EDM-Matamoros facility, which was denied on 21 January 2002.
77.
On 5 December 2001, EDM filed a "juicio de nulidad' for the annulment of the Administrative Order before the "Tribunal Federal de Justicia Fiscal y Administrativa"
78.
On 21 January 2002, SEGOB proceeded to the official closure of the Reynosa facility. EDM-Reynosa filed a "juicio de amparo" for temporary injunctive relief.
79.
On 21 March 2002, Thunderbird initiated the present arbitration proceedings.
80.
On 10 May 2002, EDM’s "juicio de nulidad' was denied by the Tribunal Federal de Justicia Fiscal y Administrativa.
81.
On 30 May 2002, a "Tribunal Colegiado" denied EDM’s "amparo" with respect to the official closure of the EDM-Laredo facility. EDM-Laredo was subsequently closed down.
82.
On 10 June 2002, the judge ratified the decision denying EDM’s "amparo" for Matamoros.
83.
On 17 July 2002, EDM discontinued the "juicio de amparo" with respect to the official closure of the EDM-Reynosa facility.
84.
On 21 August 2002, EDM discontinued the "juicio de amparo" with respect to the official closure of the EDM-Matamoros facility.

IV. Issues to be Determined by the Arbitral Tribunal

85.
In resolving this dispute, the Tribunal shall determine the main issues by reference to the draft Tentative List of Issues referred to in U 29 above:

A. General

1. What is the applicable law for resolving each of the Issues mentioned below?

2. Which of the Parties has the burden of proof for each of the Issues mentioned below?

B. Jurisdiction and/or admissibility

3. Does Thunderbird "own or control directly or indirectly" at the relevant times any of the companies listed below (the "EDM Companies") that would entitle it to submit to arbitration a claim on behalf of them under Article 1117 Nafta? If not, what are the consequences thereof?

(a) Entertainmens de Mexico S. de R. L. de C.V. ("EDM-Matamoros")

(b) Entertainmens de Mexico Laredo S. de R. L. de C.V. ("EDM-Laredo")

(c) Entertainmens de Mexico Reynosa S. de R. L. de C.V. ("EDM-Reynosa")

(d) Entertainmens de Mexico Puebla S. de R. L. de C.V. ("EDM-Puebla")

(e) Entertainmens de Mexico Monterrey S. de R. L. de C.V. ("EDM-Monterrey")

(f) Entertainmens de Mexico Juarez S. de R. L. de C.V. ("EDM-Juarez").

4. Does the filing by Thunderbird of waivers on behalf of EDM-Puebla, EDM-Monterrey and EDM-Juarez on 15 August 2003 comply with the requirements of Article 1121 Nafta? If not, what are the consequences thereof?

Subject to the answers to Issues 3 and 4, the Issues regarding the merits are:

C. Merits - General

5. What is the role, if any, of Chapter Eleven of the Nafta in the present case? Specifically:

5.1 Does Chapter Eleven of the Nafta recognize and protect the right of a Contracting Party to regulate a certain conduct that it considers illegal?

5.2 If so, does the Ley Federal de Juegos y Sorteos of 31 December 1947 form part of Mexico’s law to regulate a certain conduct that it considers illegal, and what are the consequences thereof?

5.3 What is the role and jurisdiction of the Tribunal in relation to the Mexican judicial system regarding the subject matter of Thunderbird’s claims in the present case?

5.4 If and to what extent do administrative proceedings of SEGOB form part of Issue 5.3?

6. Is the functionality of the machines, technically or otherwise, operated by the EDM Companies relevant in the present case?

6.1 If so, is that question to be determined under the Ley Federal de Juegos y Sorteos of 31 December 1947 and/or on some other basis?

6.2 If so, by whom should that question be determined? In particular, is the Tribunal to defer to the determination by SEGOB? And if so, was that opinion relevant for the dispute?

(a) before 15 August 2000;

(b) between 15 August 2000 and 10 October 2001; and/or

(c) after 10 October 2001?

6.3 Assuming that the question is to be determined by the Tribunal, what are the relevant criteria for such a determination? Specifically:

(a) Were the machines in question skill machines or slot machines?

(b) Is there a "uniqueness for Mexico," as is contended by Thunderbird, and if so, is it relevant for such determination?

6.4 Assuming that the question is to be determined by the Tribunal and in light of the answer to Issue 6.3, did the machines in question meet the applicable criteria?

7. Was a legitimate expectation created by SEGOB’s letter of 15 August 2000 to the effect that it brings Thunderbird’s claims in the present case under Article 1102, 1105 and/or 1110 Nafta? Specifically:

7.1 If and to what extent is a legitimate expectation legally relevant under Article 1102, 1105 and/or 1110 Nafta?

7.2 What are the standards for a legitimate expectation in that respect?

7.3 What is the meaning and legal status of the SEGOB letter of 15 August 2000, and what is the relevance thereof?

7.4 Did EDM fail to disclose relevant facts, in particular in its Solicitud of 3 August 2000, as it is alleged by Respondent, and if so, what is the relevance thereof?

7.5 What are the consequences of the answers to the foregoing Issues 7.1 -7.4?

D. Merits - Articles 1102,1105 and 1110 Nafta

8. Did Respondent breach the "National Treatment" standard under Article 1102 Nafta?

8.1 Which of the following tests as postulated by the disputing parties is the test to be applied under Article 1102 Nafta? Specifically:

(a) As it is contended by Thunderbird, is the Tribunal to apply a three-part test, being:

(i) identification of the relevant subjects of the national treatment comparison (the basis being the likeliness of comparators);

(ii) consideration of the relative treatment received by each comparator (the basis being the best level of treatment available to any other domestic investor operating in like circumstances); and

(iii) consideration whether factors exist which could justify any difference in treatment so found (to be construed narrowly and the burden of proof shifting to Respondent)?

(b) Or, as it is contended by Respondent, is the Tribunal to apply Article 1102 in the sense that it is directed only to nationality-based discrimination and proscribes only demonstrable and significant indications of bias and prejudice on the basis on nationality, which are to be proven by Thunderbird, "the like circumstances" of Article 1102 requiring an adequate comparison on the basis of the facts, thereby taking into account, in particular, compliance with local law relating to illegal conduct?

8.2 On the basis of the test to be applied, did Respondent actually breach Article 1102? Specifically, and to the extent relevant under the test to be applied:

(a) Does the fact that Guardia and de la Torre are allegedly operating machines essentially identical to the machines operated by the closed EDM Companies mean that Respondent has not accorded to the EDM Companies treatment no less favourable than that it accords, in the like circumstances, to its own investors under Article 1102?

(b) Are other "skill game" operators that have resorted to local remedies and that have obtained injunctive relief pending a final disposition of the legality of Gobemacion's closure order against them ‘in like circumstances’ to the EDM companies, as contended by Thunderbird?

(c) Did SEGOB take action against facilities of the kind of the EDM Companies, including those owned by Guardia and de la Torre, as it is alleged by Respondent, and if so, what is the relevance thereof?

(d) What is the relevance, if any, of the fact that EDM abandoned judicial redress in Mexico against the closure of its facilities?

9. Did Respondent breach the "Minimum Standard of Treatment" under Article 1105 Nafta?

9.1 What does the "Minimum Standard of Treatment" under Article 1105 Nafta mean and how is it to be applied by a Nafta arbitral tribunal?

9.2 Subject to the answer to Issue 7 and 9.1 above, was there a detrimental reliance by Thunderbird on SEGOB’s letter of 15 August 2000, also in light of Thunderbird’s solicitud of 3 August 2000, and if so, did it constitute a breach of Article 1105 Nafta?

9.3 Subject to the answer to Issue 9.1 above, was there a failure to provide due process, constituting an administrative denial of justice, in the proceedings relating to the ruling of 10 October 2001, and if so, did it constitute a breach of Article 1105 Nafta?

9.4 Subject to the answer to Issue 9.1 above, was there manifest arbitrariness in administration, constituting proof of an abuse of right, in the proceedings before SEGOB, and if so, did it constitute a breach of Article 1105 Nafta?

10. Did Respondent engage in an expropriation in violation of Article 1110 Nafta?

10.1 Does the fact that Thunderbird did not submit to arbitration a claim on its own behalf under Article 1116 Nafta, but rather on behalf of the EDM Companies under Article 1117 Nafta, preclude it from obtaining compensation under Article 1110?

(a) In this connection, should, as it is requested by Thunderbird at pages 69-70 of its SoR, leave be granted to Thunderbird to amend its PSoC to include, in the further alternative, a claim for 100% of the damages caused to the businesses of each EDM Company as a result of Respondent’s alleged breach of Article 1110, using Article 1116 Nafta?

(b) Does a breach of Article 1110 Nafta also constitute a breach of Article 1105 Nafta, as it is contended by Thunderbird?

(i) In this connection, what is the relevance, if any, of Section B.3 of the Notes of Interpretation of Certain Chapter 11 Provisions by the Nafta Free Trade Commission of 31 July 2001 ("A determination that there has been a breach of another provision of the Nafta, or of a separate international agreement, does not establish that there has been a breach of Article 1105(1)")?

(c) Does Article 1110 Nafta impose an obligation of Respondent vis-à-vis the EDM Companies?

10.2 Subject to the answer to Issue 10.1 above, and having also regard to Issue 10.3 below, is it relevant to determine which is or are the expropriation standard or standards to be applied under Article 1110 Nafta? If so, which is that standard or are those standards?

10.3 Subject to the answers to Issues 7, 10.1 and 10.2 above, did any rights legitimately acquired by the EDM Companies exist in the businesses conducted by them? Specifically:

(a) Did the EDM Companies operate on the basis of a business undertaking that is unlawful under Mexican law?

(b) Did the EDM Companies operate on the basis of a legitimate expectation, being similar to the detrimental reliance as alleged by Thunderbird under Article 1105?

(c) Assuming that the answers to Issues (a) and (b) of the present Issue 10 are in the affirmative, do the actions of SEGOB amount to expropriation within the meaning of Article 1110 Nafta?

E. Merits - Damage

11. If the answer to Issues 8 and/or 9 and/or 10 above is in the affirmative, is Thunderbird entitled to damages, and if so for what amount?

11.1 What are the compensation principles to be applied to damages in the present case?

(a) Are these principles different with respect to breaches of Articles 1102, 1105 and 1110 Nafta, and if so, what are the differences?

(b) Does a distinction arise from whether the act complained of is lawful or unlawful?

(c) At which date are the damages to be determined?

11.2 Is there a sufficient causal link between the breach and the damages claimed by Thunderbird?

11.3 Are the damages claimed by Thunderbird a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the act that constituted the breach by Respondent?

11.4 Subject to the answers to Issues 11.1 - 11.3 above, should the damages be valued on the basis of a fair market value of the EDM Companies calculated for anticipated future profits by a discounted cash flow ("DCF") method, as contended by Thunderbird?

11.5 To the extent that it is not addressed under Issues 11.1 -

11.4 above, has Thunderbird proven the damages as claimed by it?

11.6 Subject to the answers to the foregoing Issues 11.1-11.5, what is the amount of damages?

11.7 As regards interest with respect to the damages:

(a) What is the rate of interest to be applied, and which is the currency to be taken into account in that respect?

(b) Is interest to be compounded?

(c) For which period of time is interest to be applied?

F. Costs

12. What are the costs of the arbitration and which party shall bear those costs or in which proportion shall those costs be allocated between the parties?

V. Analysis of Issues for Decision

86.
The Tribunal shall now proceed to evaluate the issues seriatim. In this regard, the Tribunal has considered all arguments, documents, and testimony that form part of the record in this case, and shall address the contentions made by the Parties to the extent relevant to the Tribunal’s decisions. The Tribunal’s decisions are based on the entire record in this case.

A. General

Issue 1. What is the applicable law for resolving each of the Issues mentioned below?

(i) Thunderbird’s position

87.
Thunderbird contends that the applicable law for resolving all issues presented in this arbitration consists of the claimed provisions of Section A of Chapter Eleven of the Nafta and the applicable rules of international law. Further, according to Thunderbird, the Chapter Eleven of the Nafta provisions should be interpreted in accordance with the customary international law rules of treaty interpretation and in light of the objectives of the Nafta and its governing principles specified in Article 102.

(ii) Mexico’s position

88.
Mexico refers to Article 1131(1) of the Nafta and contends that the Tribunal must decide the issues in dispute by reference to the relevant provisions of Chapter Eleven of the Nafta and the applicable rules of international law. Mexico adds that the jurisdiction of a Nafta Tribunal is more limited in contrast with other tribunals such as those constituted under ICSID rules since Nafta tribunals may not decide a dispute by reference to the internal law of a Nafta Party.

(iii) The Tribunal’s findings

89.
Pursuant to Article 1131(1) of the NAFTA (captioned "Governing Law"), the Tribunal shall decide the issues in this arbitration "in accordance with this Agreement and applicable rules of international law."
90.
In particular, the Tribunal has regard to the sources of law listed in Article 38(1) of the Statute of the International Court of Justice, which provides as follows:

The Court, whose function is to decide in accordance with international law such disputes as are submitted to it, shall apply:

(a) international conventions, whether general or particular, establishing rules expressly recognized by the contesting states;

(b) international custom, as evidence of a general practice accepted as law;

(c) the general principles of law recognized by civilized nations;

(d) subject to the provisions of Article 59, judicial decisions and the teachings of the most highly qualified publicists of the various nations, as subsidiary means for the determination of rules of law.

91.
The Tribunal shall construe the terms of Chapter Eleven of the NAFTA "in accordance with the ordinary meaning to be given to the terms of the treaty in their context and in the light of its object and purpose" (see Article 31 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties; see also 125-126 below).

Issue 2. Which of the Parties has the burden of proof for each of the Issues mentioned below?

(i) Thunderbird’s position

92.
Thunderbird contends that it has the legal "burden of proof’ upon its claims under the applicable rules of international law and that, conversely, Mexico has the legal burden of proof upon any affirmative defences raised. According to Thunderbird, the "burden of producing evidence" shifts upon a sufficient evidentiary showing. Thunderbird alleges further that it has made its prima facie showing of the Nafta violations and that Mexico has failed to meet its burden of producing evidence to rebut such showing.

(ii) Mexico’s position

93.
Mexico refers to Article 24 of the Uncitral Rules and international case law, arguing that a party asserting a fact or a claim is responsible for providing proof of all the elements thereof, and that the burden of proof may shift to the other Party on the basis of prima facie evidence.

(iii) The Tribunal’s findings

94.
The present arbitration is governed by the Uncitral Rules. Article 24(1) of the Uncitral Rules provides:

Each party shall have the burden of proving the facts relied on to support his claim or defence.

B. Jurisdiction and/or Admissibility

Issue 3. Does Thunderbird "own or control directly or indirectly" at the relevant times the EDM Companies that would entitle it to submit to arbitration a claim on behalf of them under Article 1117 of the Nafta? If not, what are the consequences thereof?

96.
Article 1117 of the Nafta provides:

1. An investor of a Party, on behalf of an enterprise of another Party that is a juridical person that the investor owns or controls directly or indirectly, may submit to arbitration under this Section a claim that the other Party has breached an obligation under:

(a) Section A or Article 1503(2) (State Enterprises), or

(b) Article 1502(3)(a) (Monopolies and State Enterprises) where the monopoly has acted in a manner inconsistent with the Party's obligations under Section A, and that the enterprise has incurred loss or damage by reason of, or arising out of, that breach.

2. An investor may not make a claim on behalf of an enterprise described in paragraph 1 if more than three years have elapsed from the date on which the enterprise first acquired, or should have first acquired, knowledge of the alleged breach and knowledge that the enterprise has incurred loss or damage.

3. Where an investor makes a claim under this Article and the investor or a non-controlling investor in the enterprise makes a claim under Article 1116 arising out of the same events that gave rise to the claim under this Article, and two or more of the claims are submitted to arbitration under Article 1120, the claims should be heard together by a Tribunal established under Article 1126, unless the Tribunal finds that the interests of a disputing party would be prejudiced thereby.

4. An investment may not make a claim under this Section.

(i) Mexico’s position

97.
Mexico objects to the jurisdiction of the Tribunal to hear Thunderbird’s claim under Chapter Eleven of the Nafta. According to Mexico, Thunderbird did not own or control any of the EDM companies that would entitle it to present a claim on behalf of them under Article 1117 of the Nafta, namely, Thunderbird did not demonstrate that it owned Juegos de Mexico and Thunderbird Brazil; that these companies acquired the EDM companies; or that Juegos de Mexico and Thunderbird Brazil were the owners of the EDM companies.
98.
As to control, Mexico maintains that the Nafta requires that legal control be demonstrated, and that Thunderbird did not have legal control of EDM-Matamoros, EDM-Laredo or EDM-Reynosa. Mexico argues further that Thunderbird has also not demonstrated that it had factual control of the companies in question.

(ii) Thunderbird’s position

99.
Thunderbird contends that it may properly proceed under Article 1117 of the Nafta because it "owns or controls" the EDM entities. According to Thunderbird, it directly owned, and still owns, at all relevant times all outstanding shares of EDM-Puebla, EDM-Monterrey, and EDM-Juarez.
100.
As to EDM-Matamoros, EDM-Laredo, and EDM-Reynosa, Thunderbird argues that, while it at all relevant times owned, and still owns, significant interests in those EDMs, it has never claimed full ownership thereof. Rather, Thunderbird maintains that it has at all times possessed, and still possesses, control of EDM-Matamoros, EDM-Laredo and EDM-Reynosa, directly or indirectly, at all relevant times, thus enabling Thunderbird to proceed under Article 1117 of the Nafta. Thunderbird refers to case law of the Iran-US Claims Tribunal and to Nafta case law (such as S.D. Myers Inc.) in support of its proposition that factual control may suffice to bring a Nafta claim, and argues that it has brought a claim supported by substantial evidence that Thunderbird, as a matter of fact, controlled all of the EDM investments involved in its claim.

(iii) The Tribunal’s findings

101.
Mexico has objected to the jurisdiction of the Tribunal to hear Thunderbird’s claim under Chapter Eleven of the Nafta, because of an alleged lack of ownership or control by Thunderbird over the EDM Entities for the purposes of Article 1117.
102.
Article 1117 of the Nafta requires that the investor bringing a claim on behalf of an enterprise "own or control" the enterprise. Thunderbird must therefore establish that it owned or controlled the EDM entities. The Tribunal is satisfied that Thunderbird has met the requirements of Article 1117 of the Nafta, for the following reasons.
103.
It is not disputed that Thunderbird owned the majority of the shares of EDM-Puebla, EDM-Monterrey, and EDM-Juarez. None of these entities effectively engaged in operations or business activities in Mexico.
104.
On the other hand, Thunderbird had acknowledged that it had only a partial ownership of EDM-Matamoros (36.67%), EDM-Laredo (33.3%), and EDM-Reynosa (40.1%) (jointly the "Minority EDM Entities").
105.
Therefore, the present discussion turns on whether Thunderbird exercised control over the Minority EDM Entities. The question arises whether "control" must be established in the legal sense, or whether de facto control can suffice for the purposes of Chapter Eleven of the Nafta. According to Mexico, to determine what constitutes "control" of a corporation, the Tribunal must turn to the corporate law of the Party under whose laws the enterprise was incorporated, and Article 1117 of the Nafta therefore requires that legal control be demonstrated under Mexican corporate law.
108.
It is quite common in the international corporate world to control a business activity without owning the majority voting rights in shareholders meetings. Control can also be achieved by the power to effectively decide and implement the key decisions of the business activity of an enterprise and, under certain circumstances, control can be achieved by the existence of one or more factors such as technology, access to supplies, access to markets, access to capital, know how, and authoritative reputation. Ownership and legal control may assure that the owner or legally controlling party has the ultimate right to determine key decisions. However, if in practice a person exercises that position with an expectation to receive an economic return for its efforts and eventually be held responsible for improper decisions, one can conceive the existence of a genuine link yielding the control of the enterprise to that person.
109.
In the present case, having regard to the record as a whole, the Tribunal finds that without Thunderbird’s key involvement and decision-making during the relevant time frame, i.e., during the planning of the business activities in Mexico, the initial expenditures and capital, the hiring of the machine suppliers, the consultations with SEGOB, and the official closure of the EDM facilities, EDM’s business affairs in Mexico could not have been pursued. Namely, the key officers of Thunderbird and the Minority EDM Entities were one and the same (see Dramatis Personae of 26 April 2004: Mr. Jack Mitchell was President and CEO of Thunderbird and the EDM entities; Mr. Peter Watson, counsel to Thunderbird, was shareholder in Thunderbird and the EDM entities). The initial expenditures, the know-how of the machines, the selection of the suppliers, and the expected return on the investment were provided or determined by Thunderbird. Likewise, legal advice regarding the operation of the EDM machines in Mexico was addressed to Thunderbird (see Mr. de Ruiz de Velasco’s legal opinion of 25 August 2000 at Exh. R-l 12).
110.
In the Tribunal’sview, it is clear from the record that without the consistent and significant initiative, driving force and decision-making of Thunderbird, the investment in Mexico could not have materialized. Accordingly, the Tribunal finds that Thunderbird exercised control over the Minority EDM Entities for the purpose of Article 1117 of the Nafta, in a manner sufficient to entitle it to bring a claim on behalf of those entities under said provision.

Issue 4. Does the filing by Thunderbird of waivers on behalf of EDM-Puebla, EDM-Monterrey and EDM-Juarez on 15 August 2003 comply with the requirements of Article 1121 of the Nafta? If not, what are the consequences thereof?

111.
Article 1121 of the Nafta, captioned "Conditions Precedent to Submission of a Claim to Arbitration", provides:

[...]

2. A disputing investor may submit a claim under Article 1117 to arbitration only if both the investor and the enterprise:

(a) consent to arbitration in accordance with the procedures set out in this Agreement; and (b) waive their right to initiate or continue before any administrative tribunal or court under the law of any Party, or other dispute settlement procedures, any proceedings with respect to the measure of the disputing Party that is alleged to be a breach referred to in Article 1117, except for proceedings for injunctive, declaratory or other extraordinary relief, not involving the payment of damages, before an administrative tribunal or court under the law of the disputing Party.

3. A consent and waiver required by this Article shall be in writing, shall be delivered to the disputing Party and shall be included in the submission of a claim to arbitration.

[...]

(i) Mexico’s position

112.
Mexico submits that Thunderbird did not file waivers on behalf of EDM-Puebla, EDM-Monterrey, and EDM-Juarez in accordance with the requirements under the Nafta. Specifically, Mexico contends that, pursuant to Article 1121 of the Nafta, Thunderbird should have presented written waivers of the right to initiate or continue any actions in local courts or other fora at the time of submitting the claim to arbitration, i.e., at the time of presenting the Notice of Arbitration. As a result, Mexico argues, the claims of those three EDM entities are not admissible under the Nafta.

(ii) Thunderbird’s position

113.
Thunderbird alleges that it satisfied all the requirements of Articles 1121(2) and (3) of the Nafta with its delivery on 15 August 2003 (concurrent with the PSoC) of waivers for EDM-Puebla, EDM-Monterrey and EDM-Juarez, which had been inadvertently missing from earlier filings. Thunderbird argues in any event that even if it were assumed that the waiver letters were submitted after delivery of the "claim to arbitration," previous Nafta tribunals have found that such minor procedural defects cannot be used to defeat an otherwise meritorious claim. Thunderbird adds that none of the EDM entities have commenced actions in breach of the Article 1121 waiver.

(iii) The Tribunal’s findings

C. Merits - General

Issue 5. What is the role, if any, of Chapter Eleven of the Nafta in the present case?

(i) Thunderbird’s position

119.
Thunderbird accepts that Article 1114 Nafta allows governments to label and regulate conduct they choose as being "illegal" for domestic purposes. A Nafta tribunal may determine, Thunderbird contends, whether the Nafta party has carried out its regulatory activities in a manner that does not violate its Chapter Eleven obligations. Thunderbird considers that the Ley Federal de Juegos y Sorteos of 31 December 1947 constitutes a "measure" under Chapter Eleven of the Nafta, as do the various forms of enforcement activity arising from it.
120.
Thunderbird accepts further that the Tribunal has no role in relation to the Mexican judicial system regarding the subject matter of this case - it does not stand as a domestic court of appeal or review - the Tribunal must simply determine whether Mexico has developed and executed the measures in question in a manner consistent with Mexico’s obligations under Chapter Eleven of the Nafta. In this regard, Thunderbird characterises the SEGOB administrative proceedings as administrative fact-finding or quasi-judicial proceedings, to be adjudged against the standards of due process and procedural fairness applicable to administrative officials, rather than judicial officials.

(ii) Mexico’s position

121.
Mexico contends that Chapter Eleven of the Nafta recognises and protects the right of a Contracting Party to regulate certain conduct that it considers illegal, and that the Ley Federal de Juegos y Sorteos forms part of Mexico’s law to regulate such conduct that it considers illegal.
122.
With respect to the role and jurisdiction of the Tribunal in relation to the Mexican judicial system regarding the subject matter of Thunderbird’s claims, Mexico argues that the Tribunal may not act as a court of appeal with authority to review the decisions of the domestic Mexican courts. According to Mexico, the Tribunal may only assess whether the conduct of the Mexican administration in enforcing domestic law was compatible with the three Nafta provisions relied upon by Thunderbird. As to the administrative proceedings of SEGOB, Mexico points out that they were subject, at all stages, to Mexican judicial review, and that the Tribunal may not review those proceedings in the manner of an appellate court.

(iii) The Tribunal’s findings

123.
The Parties do not dispute that Chapter Eleven of the Nafta recognizes in principle the right of a Contracting Party to regulate conduct that it considers illegal.
124.
The Tribunal notes that under Mexican law, specifically the Ley Federal de Juegosy Sorteos of 31 December 1947, gambling is an illegal activity.
126.
Rather, the Tribunal shall examine whether the conduct of Mexico and the measures employed by SEGOB in relation to the EDM entities were consistent with Mexico’s obligations under Chapter Eleven of the Nafta.

Issue 6. Is the functionality of the machines, technically or otherwise, operated by the EDM Companies relevant in the present case?

(i) Thunderbird’s position

128.
Thunderbird contends that the functionality of the machines is relevant in assessing Mexico’s justification (or lack thereof) for seizing Thunderbird’s investment enterprises; to the issue of detrimental reliance under Article 1105 in that use of similar equipment was already familiar to Mexican officials - prior to 15 August 2000 - due to their use in facilities already being regulated by Mexico (e.g. the Guardia facilities); and for Article 1102 to the extent that similar equipment has been, and remains, in use in other facilities while the EDMs remain closed.
129.
Thunderbird contends further that the manner in which the functionality of the machines is relevant in the present case does not involve a determination by the Tribunal as to the legality of the EDM machines under Mexican law.
130.
Thunderbird also argues that the determination of SEGOB concerning the functionality of the machines, at any given time, is only relevant to the issue of whether any actions taken on the basis of these determinations violates the relevant Nafta provisions.
131.
According to Thunderbird, the only criteria relevant for the Tribunal to determine the functionality of the machines is the standard set forth in the Oficio i.e., whether "the principal factor of the operation is luck or gambling and not the user’s ability of skilfulness." Thunderbird contends that the machines in question met the applicable criteria and were as a matter fact established by the evidence before the Tribunal, to be "skill machines" operated in accordance with the Oficio. Thunderbird refers in this regard to the briefcase version demonstration carried out by Mr. McDonald at the Hearing.

(ii) Mexico’s position

132.
According to Mexico, the functionality of the machines is relevant to the issues of whether SEGOB could be deemed to have acted arbitrarily at international law in finding that such machines were prohibited equipment under Mexican law; and whether Thunderbird could have had a reasonable expectation that SEGOB would agree that the machines operated by EDM were not illegal gaming machines.
133.
Mexico recalls that the Tribunal does not have jurisdiction to determine whether the gaming operations of EDM were legal, or whether the machines in question were prohibited under Mexican law. Mexico disputes however Thunderbird’s characterisation of the machines as "skill" machines, arguing instead that the evidence produced by Mexico establishes that the EDM machines are no more than "video poker" or "slot" machines, similar or identical to machines that were held to be gambling equipment in U.S. legal proceedings, and previously described as gambling equipment by Thunderbird itself. Mexico refers in this regard to the expert testimony of Prof. Rose and Mr. McDonald’s demonstration at the Hearing.

(iii) The Tribunal’s findings

134.
Both Parties have argued that the functionality of the EDM machines is relevant to certain issues pending before the Tribunal. Thus, Thunderbird has submitted evidence in support of its contention that the EDM machines are "skill" machines, whereas Mexico has provided evidence establishing, according to Mexico, that the machines in question are "tragamonedas" [slot machines] prohibited under Mexican law.
135.
The Tribunal agrees that the nature and functionality of the machines may be relevant in considering certain issues in this arbitration. However, the Tribunal does not need to enter into a detailed technical discussion as to the precise nature and functionality of the machines, since both Parties acknowledge that it is not up to the Tribunal to determine the legality of the machines under the Ley Federal de Juegos y Sorteos.
136.
The Tribunal notes that the machines operated by EDM are equipped with computerised random number generators and that it is possible to set the level of payouts, and thus the odds for winning. For example, the Bestco "Fantasy 5 Game Manual" that was found at the EDM-Laredo Facility provides that the default base pay rate "is set to 75%. This can be changed to a value within the range of 50%-95%." (Ex. R-15, p. 13) The Tribunal notes further that the machine’s percentage of payout is not visible or otherwise known to the player (see McDonald at Tr. 498-502). The Tribunal infers that the operation of these video game machines with a built-in and modifiable random number generator involves a considerable degree of chance, and that by adjusting the payout rate, the machine operator can manipulate the odds for winning regardless of the skill of the player.

Issue 7. Was a legitimate expectation created by SEGOB’s letter of 15 August 2000 to the effect that it brings Thunderbird’s claims in the present case under Article 1102,1105 and/or 1110 of the Nafta?

(i) Thunderbird’s position

137.
Thunderbird contends that this issue is relevant to the application of Articles 1105, 1110, and 1102 of the Nafta.
138.

As to the standard of protection for legitimate expectations, Thunderbird argues that if an investor or investment reasonably relies on the representations of government officials and suffers damages because of such reliance, the responsibility of the State is engaged under international law. Thunderbird cites a number of cases in this regard6, arguing that detrimental reliance arises from the general international law principle of good faith and the customary international standard of fair and equitable treatment. Through its ratification of the Nafta, Thunderbird contends, Mexico authored a set of legitimate expectations upon which an investor or investment could reasonably rely.

139.
Thunderbird contends that, seeking certainty as to the legality and propriety of its intended operations in Mexico, Thunderbird and EDM solicited the Mexican government for an official opinion. According to Thunderbird, SEGOB’s response to the Solicitud provided the EDMs with written assurance or "negative clearance" to operate the specific machines identified in the Solicitud, and defined a standard in accordance with which Thunderbird could operate skill machines without regulation by SEGOB, the standard being that the machines had to be ones in which the "principal factor" of operation was the user’s skill and ability. Thunderbird does not assert that it had thus obtained a government permit or licence to operate. Rather, SEGOB generated, according to Thunderbird, a legitimate expectation upon which the EDMs should have been able to rely reasonably.
140.
Thunderbird denies having failed to disclose relevant facts in the Solicitud. According to Thunderbird, the SEGOB officials who issued the letter must have been familiar with the skill machines whose operation was proposed by the EDMs, since, amongst others, Mexico had been involved in litigation with Guardia over similar machines and SEGOB did not request any additional information in relation to the EDM machines.

(ii) Mexico’s position

141.
Mexico denies that the Oficio created a legitimate expectation for Thunderbird with respect to its investments in Mexico. According to Mexico, the Oficio was an advisory opinion, not an approval or permit, based on the information provided by EDM in the Solicitud, stating that if the machines operated by EDM were as described in the Solicitud, then they fell outside SEGOB’s jurisdiction. Mexico asserts that it clearly and expressly made known to EDM the nature of the machines that were prohibited by law and that the Oficio was a clear warning that the operations EDM was conducting could be illegal.
142.
However, Mexico argues, EDM did not operate the machines in the form or manner described in the Solicitud, neither with respect to the element of "ability and skill" nor with respect to "betting," and EDM did not present any evidence on the operation of the machines. Mexico adds that the Solicitud did not allude to the fact that the EDM machines were similar or identical to those operated by Guardia.
143.
Further, Mexico contends, EDM did not treat the Oficio as a permit or authorisation at the time it was issued by SEGOB, as evidenced by Mr. Ruiz de Velasco’s legal opinion, which concurred with the Oficio (quoted at ¶ 59 above).
144.
Mexico denies in any event that Thunderbird relied on the Oficio as the basis for its investments in Mexico, arguing that Thunderbird undertook actions before the Officio 's issuance; that Thunderbird expressly advised investors in EDM that the Oficio was no specific entitlement for EDM’s operations; that Thunderbird reported to its shareholders that it relied on private sector advisors in making the investment; and that it asserted in U.S. court proceedings that it was fraudulently induced to enter this business by Messrs. Oien en Ong.

(iii) The Tribunal’s findings

145.
EDM’s Solicitud dated 3 August 2000 is quoted at ¶50 above. SEGOB’s Oficio dated 15 August 2000 is quoted at ¶55 above.
146.
Thunderbird has argued that it reasonably relied, to its detriment, upon the assurances provided by SEGOB in the Oficio. Mexico, on the other hand, denies that the Oficio gave rise to any legitimate expectations for Thunderbird to operate the EDM machines in Mexico.
148.
The threshold for legitimate expectations may vary depending on the nature of the violation alleged under the Nafta and the circumstances of the case. Whatever standard is applied in the present case however - be it the broadest or the narrowest - the Tribunal does not find that the Oficio generated a legitimate expectation upon which EDM could reasonably rely in operating its machines in Mexico.
149.
The Tribunal considers that the point of departure in assessing whether Thunderbird could reasonably rely to its detriment on SEGOB’s response to the Solicitud is to ascertain what was requested by Thunderbird in the Solicitud.
150.
Given the lack of contemporaneous evidence on the record regarding the background of the Solicitud (such as witness evidence from Messrs. Aspe and Arroyo or from SEGOB officials in office when the Solicitud was submitted), the Tribunal cannot rely on presumptions or inferences, let alone speculation concerning that background. For instance, the Tribunal has noted the existence of a "success fee" arrangement between Thunderbird and Messrs. Aspe and Arroyo (who, according to Thunderbird, had numerous contacts with SEGOB officials in relation to Thunderbird’s proposed operations). Thunderbird offered the two Mexican lawyers US$ 300,000 to secure a letter from SEGOB authorising Thunderbird’s gaming operations in Mexico (see correspondence at Exs. R-106, R-107, and R-121). According to Mr. Watson’s draft letter of 10 August 2000, Thunderbird was prepared to pay Messrs. Aspe and Arroyo an additional US$ 700,000 if the letter was "granted exclusively for Thunderbird [...] and that no other such permission would be granted to other potential competing parties; otherwise, no additional fees would be owed." (Ex. R-121) In the absence of any evidence on the record in relation to the "success fee" arrangement and the nature of the dealings between Messrs. Aspe and Arroyo and SEGOB, these facts do not have a bearing on the Tribunal’s analysis below. Under those circumstances, the Tribunal can only interpret the 3 August 2000 Solicitud on its face value.
151.
In the Tribunal’s view, the information presented by EDM in the Solicitud is incomplete and, in particular, inaccurate in two regards.
152.
First, it is asserted in the Solicitud that the machines operated by EDM do not involve luck or betting (see 1|3: "In these games, chance and wagering or betting is not involved The Tribunal notes in ¶7 the use of the explicit terms "in no way": "The nature of video game machines for games of skills and ability is not games of chance or games with bets, wagers or drawings [...] the player can receive points that he can trade for a prize as a reward for the skills achieved and in no way as the result of chance" (" de ninguna manera " in the original Spanish version). To represent that luck does not affect the outcome of the game in any manner whatsoever contradicts the evidence on the record (see the Tribunal’s findings at ¶136 above).
153.
Second, it is asserted in the Solicitud that the machines in question are "devices for recreation which have been designed for the enjoyment and entertainment of its users" (¶3), "only for the purpose of entertainment in which the users can obtain prizes for their skills and abilities" (Solicitud at ¶9; see also ¶8 "[...] the determinant to get results is the skills and ability of players; something very different from games of bets and wagers where there is a previous pact or covenant between the company and the user and, therefore, there is an agreement to handle an amount of money or any other thing."). It is thus suggested that the machines operated by EDM do not involve any "agreement to handle an amount of money," attributing instead prizes to the players. Such a representation is not accurate since the player must insert dollar bills to begin the game and any winning ticket is redeemable for cash.
154.
In this regard, Mr. Ruiz de Velasco testified that had he known when he rendered his legal opinion on 20 August 2000 that the winning tickets were redeemable for cash, he would have most likely revised his opinion "because it probably could have bid in [sic] as gambling or betting." (Ruiz de Velasco at Tr. 649-650)
155.
The Tribunal is therefore of the opinion that the Solicitud is not a proper disclosure and that it puts the reader on the wrong track. The Solicitud creates the appearance that the machines described are video arcade games, designed solely for entertainment purposes.
156.
Thunderbird has argued that SEGOB was well aware of the nature of the EDM machines since it had attempted to proceed with the closure of similar gaming facilities of Mr. Guardia. The Tribunal notes, however, that there is no disclosure in the Solicitud that the machines operated by EDM were similar or identical to those of Mr. Guardia.
157.
Likewise, Thunderbird’s identification in the Solicitud of the trademark and model number of the machines ("Bestco, model MTL19U-8L and S.C.I. model 17"UR") cannot be deemed sufficient to establish the functionality of the machines. According to the evidence, the model references used in the Solicitud were not proper model numbers but rather a description of the size of the computer monitor used to display the video game (see Tr. 125-126 and Exs. C-36 and C-87; see also Tr. 1163-1165). The model numbers did not therefore elucidate the nature of the machines and furthermore appeared to be inaccurate or incomplete. For instance, in the Bestco invoice, the machines sold were identified under the model reference "7100 Fantasy 5" (Ex. C-87; see also operating manual captioned "Fantasy 5 Game Manual" at Ex. R-l5), whereas in the Solicitud a random combination of abbreviations and numbers was used to identify the same machines ("MTL19U-8L"), without any reference to the name "Fantasy 5." In this respect, Mr. McDonald testified that he was not familiar with the Bestco model numbers (Tr. 445-446). Mr. Ruiz de Velasco also testified that he was not familiar with the meaning of the Bestco and SCI model numbers (Tr. 583-585). No operating manuals, catalogues, or photos of the machines were presented with the Solicitud.
158.
The Tribunal finds no evidence on the record establishing that SEGOB was indeed familiar with the nature and operation of the EDM machines.
159.
Thunderbird has also argued that in the event of doubt, SEGOB should have made a request for additional information regarding the operation of the machines, or for an inspection of the machines. Yet Thunderbird was the moving party presenting a "Solicitud' to the Mexican administration; one would therefore expect that the moving party supply adequate information and make a proper disclosure. In the Tribunal’s view, the Solicitud did not give the full picture, even for an informed reader.
160.
The Tribunal turns to the contents of the Oficio. Again, in the absence of any contemporaneous evidence surrounding the issuance of the Oficio (namely, the lack of witness testimony from SEGOB officials involved in the issuance of the Oficio, as well as that of Messrs Aspe and Arroyo; see also ¶150 above), the Tribunal cannot rely on presumptions or inferences, let alone speculation, regarding its issuance and can only analyse the letter on its face value. In addition, it is not up to the Tribunal to determine how SEGOB should have interpreted or responded to the Solicitud, as by doing so, the Tribunal would interfere with issues of purely domestic law and the manner in which governments should resolve administrative matters (which may vary from country to country). Rather, the Tribunal can only assess whether the contents of the Solicitud gave rise to legitimate expectations for Thunderbird within the context of Mexico’s obligations under Chapter Eleven of the Nafta.
161.
SEGOB, in 2-4 of the Oficio, recalls the legal provisions applicable in relation to "gambling and luck related games." In ¶5, SEGOB states: "[...] notwithstanding the above mentioned, according to your statement, the machines that your representative operates are recreational video game devices for purposes of enjoyment and entertainment of its users, with the possibility of obtaining a prize, without the intervention of luck or gambling, but rather the user’s ability and skilfulness". In ¶6, SEGOB adds: "if the machines that your representative exploits operate in the form and conditions stated by you, this governmental entity is not able to prohibit its use, in the understanding that the use of machines known as "coins-swallowers", "token-swallowers" or "slot machines, " in which the principal factor of the operation is luck or gambling and not the user’s ability of skilfulness as you stated, could constitute any of the hypothesis described under the Federal Law of Games and Sweepstake [...]." The Tribunal understands the message conveyed by SEGOB in the Oficio to be that if the machines operate in accordance with EDM’s representations in the Solicitud, SEGOB does not have jurisdiction over said machines.
162.
Thunderbird has argued that the Oficio defined a standard according to which machines that involved as "principal factor" the user’s skill and ability do not fall within SEGOB’s jurisdiction. The Tribunal does not follow Thunderbird’s interpretation. In ¶ 6, SEGOB refers to slot machines (or "coin-swallowers" or "token-swallowers"). According to SEGOB, such machines are devices in which the "principal factor" ("factor preponderante" in the original Spanish text) of the operation is luck or gambling. SEGOB’s description of slot machines cannot be interpreted a contrario as describing a standard for skill machines, according to which machines in which skill is the "factor preponderante" cannot be treated as gambling equipment. SEGOB’s use of the term "preponderante" in reference to luck or gambling is not unusual. Prof. Rose testified, "gambling means that it is predominantly chance. Probably the easiest way to understand that is that if chance determines the outcome at any point, then it’s gambling. So skill has to determine the outcome at every point in the game." (Tr. 729) Furthermore, Thunderbird was clearly cautioned in ¶ 7 of the Oficio, "in the machines that your representative operates there shall be no intervention of luck or gambling."
163.
As to Mr. Ruiz de Velasco’s legal opinion of 20 August 2004 (quoted at ¶ 59 above), the contents thereof reinforce the Tribunal’s view that Thunderbird could not have reasonably relied to its detriment upon the Oficio to operate its gaming facilities in Mexico. In his letter to Thunderbird, Mr. Ruiz de Velasco made clear that (i) the Oficio was based upon the EDM’s representations in the Solicitud ("[...] the Ministry of Interior states that it does not have any jurisdiction over the operation of said machines, since in accordance with the representations made by EDM in its application, the video games skill machines to be operated by EDM do not fall into the classification of ‘slot machines ’[...]" at R-l 12); and (ii) that EDM was prohibited from operating gaming or betting machines ("[...] EDM can operate the video games skill machines as long as they do not become, in any manner whatsoever, as gaming or betting machines" at R-l 12 (emphasis added)).
164.
It cannot be disputed that Thunderbird knew when it chose to invest in gaming activities in Mexico that gambling was an illegal activity under Mexican law. By Thunderbird’s own admission, it also knew that operators of similar machines (Guardia) had encountered legal resistance from SEGOB. Hence, Thunderbird must be deemed to have been aware of the potential risk of closure of its own gaming facilities and it should have exercised particular caution in pursuing its business venture in Mexico. At the time EDM requested an official opinion from SEGOB on the legality of its machines, EDM must also be deemed to have been aware that its machines involved some degree of luck, and that dollar bill acceptors coupled with winning tickets redeemable for cash could be reasonably viewed as elements of betting. Yet EDM chose not to disclose those critical aspects in the Solicitud.
165.
Further, the fact that SEGOB took action against Thunderbird’s gaming facilities in February 2001, i.e., approximately six months after the issuance of the Oficio, is insufficient to establish that prior to that date, SEGOB had authorised (or was intentionally tolerating) Thunderbird’s operations. Six months under the circumstances is by any standard a reasonable period for a government to seek enforcement of local gambling legislation.
166.
Considering the foregoing, the Tribunal finds that there was no legitimate expectation created by the Oficio to the effect of bringing Thunderbird’s claims in the present case under Article 1102, 1105 and/or 1110 of the Nafta.

D. Merits - Articles 1102,1105 and 1110 of the Nafta

Issue 8. Did Respondent breach the "National Treatment" standard under Article 1102 of the Nafta?

168.
Articles 1102 (1) and (2) of the Nafta provide as follows:

1. Each Party shall accord to investors of another Party treatment no less favorable than that it accords, in like circumstances, to its own investors with respect to the establishment, acquisition, expansion, management, conduct, operation, and sale or other disposition of investments.

2. Each Party shall accord to investments of investors of another Party treatment no less favorable than that it accords, in like circumstances, to investments of its own investors with respect to the establishment, acquisition, expansion, management, conduct, operation, and sale or other disposition of investments.

(i) Thunderbird’s position

169.
Thunderbird contends that Mexico has breached Article 1102 of the Nafta by according different treatment to EDM and its investments than that what has been provided to domestic investors and investments operating in like circumstances.
171.
Thunderbird’s EDM enterprises were seized and closed by Mexico because the skill machines operated at those facilities were deemed illegal, Thunderbird argues, whereas domestic investors, operating skill machines under essentially identical circumstances, remain open and operating. Thunderbird cites Guardia’s "Club 21," de la Torres’s Reflejos facility, and the Bella Vista Entertainment centre in Monterrey as appropriate comparators. Thunderbird disputes Mexico’s argument that the EDM entities were not in "like circumstances," arguing instead that Mexico has not provided a sufficient evidentiary basis upon which to make the argument.
172.
Finally, Thunderbird maintains that its decision to abandon recourse to judicial proceedings for relief in Mexico is irrelevant to the issue of whether Mexico breached its Nafta obligations under Chapter Eleven of the Nafta.

(ii) Mexico’s position

173.
Mexico denies having accorded less favourable treatment to EDM than that accorded to Mexican companies in like circumstances. SEGOB has acted consistently, Mexico argues, in enforcing the law against all operators (including Mexican nationals) who have attempted to operate facilities with so-called "skill" machines, and it has proceeded with the closure of every similar facility of which it became aware of and defended its actions in every court of appeal initiated by the operators of machines similar or identical to those of EDM.
174.
Mexico contends that Thunderbird has not succeeded in proving any discrimination against EDM, whether based on nationality or otherwise. In this regard, Mexico disputes Thunderbird’s three-part test Article 1102. According to Mexico, Article 1102 is directed only to nationality-based discrimination and proscribes only demonstrable and significant indications of bias and prejudice on the basis on nationality, which are to be proven by Thunderbird, "the like circumstances" of Article 1102 requiring an adequate comparison on the basis of the facts, thereby taking into account, in particular, compliance with local law relating to illegal conduct. Mexico adds that EDM is not "in like circumstances" with the operators of facilities that have been able to continue operating under temporary injunctive relief while their legal challenges were pending, as even if EDM filed "juicio de amparo" proceedings, it was not granted injunctive relief and moreover withdrew its appeals.

(iii) The Tribunal’s findings

175.
In construing Article 1102 of the Nafta, the Tribunal gives effect to the plain wording of the text. The obligation of the host Nafta Party under Article 1102 of the Nafta is to accord non-discriminatory treatment towards the investment or investor of other Nafta Parties. It must therefore be established that discriminatory treatment was accorded to the foreign investment or investor.
179.
The record shows that SEGOB has sought to enforce Mexican legislation on gambling by pursuing the closure of numerous gambling facilities (most of which have been closed definitely), and that the official closure of Mexican gambling facilities was in fact pursued at the very same time SEGOB proceeded to the official closure of the EDM facilities in Nuevo Laredo and Matamoros (see Exh. R-9). The Tribunal notes that SEGOB met resistance from the gaming facilities in question, including those of EDM, before the Mexican courts. As a result, it appears that some of the facilities closed by SEGOB were able to continue to operate under temporary injunctive relief, but the record also shows that SEGOB legally challenged the court decisions granting injunctive relief in connection with SEGOB’s official closure orders and that appeals are pending.
180.
As to the gambling facilities that apparently continue to operate without having obtained temporary injunctive relief, the Tribunal finds insufficient evidence on the record establishing that Mexico had knowledge of the existence of those facilities and deliberately allowed them to remain open. In this regard, it should be noted that some of the gambling facilities appeared to operate in a clandestine manner (see the videos submitted by Thunderbird).
181.
With respect to the Guardia facilities, the Tribunal notes that this is a particular case where SEGOB has experienced long-standing legal altercations with Mr. Guardia. The Tribunal infers that even if any of the facilities operated by Mr. Guardia remain open today, one cannot talk of discrimination towards EDM since the record shows that SEGOB has repeatedly taken action to close Mr. Guardia’s facilities, but has met fierce legal and other resistance in the process (see Exs. R-97; R-l 14; R-31, R-32).
182.
It thus appears from the facts of the case that SEGOB’s policy and actions in enforcing the Ley Federal de Juegos y Sorteos were directed at both Mexican and non-Mexican gambling operations and that they were overall consistent. Accordingly, the Tribunal finds that Thunderbird has not established a breach the "National Treatment" standard under Article 1102 of the Nafta.
183.
In any event, even if Thunderbird had established without doubt that Mexico’s line of conduct with respect to gambling operations was not uniform and consistent, one cannot overlook the fact that gambling is illegal in Mexico. In the Tribunal’s view, it would be inappropriate for a Nafta tribunal to allow a party to rely on Article 1102 of the Nafta to vindicate equality of nonenforcement within the sphere of an activity that a Contracting Party deems illicit.

Issue 9. Did Respondent breach the "Minimum Standard of Treatment" under Article 1105 of the Nafta?

184.
Article 1105(1) of the Nafta provides as follows:

Each Party shall accord to investments of investors of another Party treatment in accordance with international law, including fair and equitable treatment and full protection and security.

(i) Thunderbird’s position

185.
With respect to the meaning of the "Minimum Standard of Treatment" under Article 1105 of the Nafta and its application by a Nafta tribunal, Thunderbird cites various Nafta awards, alleging that the conduct of SEGOB officials in this case reflects exactly the kind and level of arbitrariness that the Waste Management II tribunal would conclude violates the minimum standard under Article 1105.
186.
According to Thunderbird, three international law doctrines - detrimental reliance, denial of justice, and abuse of rights - can be used to inform the Tribunal’s interpretation of how "fair and equitable treatment" was not provided to Thunderbird or its investments. Hence, Thunderbird contends that the detrimental reliance by Thunderbird and the EDMs on the Oficio in pursuing their investments in Mexico and Mexico’s subsequent actions against Thunderbird and its EDM entities, in contravention to the content of the Oficio, establish a breach of Article 1105 of the Nafta, adding that the EDMs were not only entitled to rely upon the SEGOB letter because of its contents, but also because of the expectations generated by Mexico’s ratification of the Nafta. Thunderbird alleges further a failure by Mexico to provide due process, constituting an administrative denial of justice, in the proceedings relating to the ruling of 10 October 2001, which constituted a breach of Article 1105 of the Nafta; and manifest arbitrariness in administration, constituting proof of an abuse of right, in the proceedings before SEGOB, in breach of Article 1105 of the Nafta.

(ii) Mexico’s position

187.
Mexico denies having violated the "Minimum Standard of Treatment" of Article 1105 of the Nafta.
188.
According to Mexico, Thunderbird’s complaints about the SEGOB administrative proceedings are factually incorrect and in any event pertain to issues of pure domestic law; and Thunderbird has not presented any evidence of failures of the Mexican judicial system that it argues prejudiced it and constituted the principal reason why it withdrew its judicial appeals.
189.
Mexico contends that it has adopted a uniform and consistent line of conduct with respect to illegal gaming operations. In particular, Mexico argues that it has, to its knowledge, closed down all facilities where so-called slot machines were operating and has legally challenged all court decisions granting injunctive relief regarding SEGOB official closure orders.
190.
With respect to any alleged detrimental reliance on the Oficio, Mexico contends that SEGOB’s determination that it would consider the machines to be prohibited games cannot be considered arbitrary, given that Thunderbird itself knew the nature of the machines and knew of the existing risk that they would be inspected by SEGOB and it would reach that conclusion.
191.
As to the SEGOB administrative proceedings, Mexico denies that they were illegal, arbitrary or unfair, arguing that the decision itself indicates that EDM’s evidence was taken into account even when not in strict accordance with the applicable domestic legal requirements and the decision set out a reasoned basis for its conclusions; that the procedure was transparent and in compliance with Mexican laws, validated by EDM’s lawyers who were experts in Mexican law; and that if there had been a violation during the proceedings, there were appropriate judicial remedies available to challenge it.

(iii) The Tribunal’s findings

195.
In the present case, the Tribunal is not convinced that Thunderbird has demonstrated that Mexico’s conduct violated the minimum standard of treatment, for the following reasons.

Issue 10. Did Respondent engage in an expropriation in violation of Article 1110 of the Nafta?

202.
Article 1110 (1) of the Nafta provides as follows:

No Party may directly or indirectly nationalize or expropriate an investment of an investor of another Party in its territory or take a measure tantamount to nationalization or expropriation of such an investment ("expropriation"), except:

(a) for a public purpose;

(b) on a non-discriminatory basis;

(c) in accordance with due process of law and Article 1105(1); and

(d) on payment of compensation in accordance with paragraphs 2 through 6.

(i) Thunderbird’s position

203.
With respect to Mexico’s jurisdictional objections, Thunderbird contends that the purposes of the Nafta would be completely frustrated if investors were not entitled to bring claims under Article 1110, on behalf of their investment enterprises established in the territory of another Nafta Party. Thunderbird requests that leave be granted to Thunderbird to amend its PSoC to include, in the further alternative, a claim for 100% of the damages caused to the businesses of each EDM Company as a result of Respondent’s alleged breach of Article 1110, using Article 1116 of the Nafta.
204.
Thunderbird contends that Article 1110 of the NAFTA, which requires the payment of full, prompt, and effective compensation for the taking of an "investment," imposes an obligation upon Mexico vis-à-vis the EDMs. The standard for determining whether a taking has occurred is whether government action has resulted in substantial interference with the investment.
205.
According to Thunderbird, the EDM Companies had legitimately acquired rights in the businesses they conducted. The actions of SEGOB amounted to expropriation within the meaning of Article 1110 of the Nafta, Thunderbird argues, because the EDMs established their investments in Mexico on the general promise of fair and equitable treatment and with the added security of the "negative clearance" contained within the Oficio, and the official closure of these facilities destroyed the EDMs’ businesses, requiring the payment of fair market value for these investments so taken.

(ii) Mexico’s position

206.
Mexico raises a jurisdictional objection to the effect that Thunderbird cannot succeed in its claim of expropriation because it failed to bring a claim on its own behalf as an investor of a Party under Article 1116 of the Nafta. Thunderbird’s request in the SoR to amend its claim should be denied according to Mexico.
207.
Mexico contends that SEGOB determined that EDM was operating prohibited gambling equipment and that, therefore, bona fide law enforcement actions by SEGOB, such as the closure of illegal gambling operations, do not amount to an expropriation. Further, Mexico argues, EDM filed appeals in the national courts that it subsequently withdrew.

(iii) The Tribunal’s findings

E. Merits - Damages

209.
The Tribunal has found that Mexico did not violate any of the Nafta provisions relied upon by Thunderbird (see the Tribunal’s findings on Issues 8, 9 and 10 above). Accordingly, Thunderbird is not entitled to damages and the Tribunal does not need to address Issue 11.

VI. Costs

210.
In Thunderbird’s Cost Submission of 26 August 2004, Thunderbird claimed US$ 995,934.50 for its legal fees and expenses. In Thunderbird’s Supplementary Statement of Costs of March 31, 2005, Thunderbird claims US$ 1,163,375.20 (including previous sums claimed).
211.
In Mexico’s Cost Submission of 12 August 2004, Mexico claimed US$ 1,310,943.78 for its legal fees and expenses. In Mexico’s Supplementary Statement of Costs of 31 March 2005, Mexico claimed an additional US$ 191,122.06.
216.
The parties to the present case have themselves each claimed an award of costs (see Notice of Arbitration at ¶34 and SoD at ¶372). Although Thunderbird has contended that it is rarely appropriate for costs to be awarded to an unsuccessful Nafta claimant, it has at the same time recognized: "[n]o Nafta provisions exist which would modify the application of [Articles 38 and 40 of the Uncitral] arbitration rules. Accordingly, it lies within the discretion of this Tribunal to award costs in the manner it determines to be the most appropriate and reasonable in the circumstances." (see PSoC at p. 121)
217.
The Tribunal is mindful of other Nafta awards such as the decision in Azinian v. Mexico,16 in which the tribunal considered four factors for deciding that the losing investor need not pay the costs of the respondent (state party):

The claim has failed in its entirety. The Respondent has been put to considerable inconvenience. In ordinary circumstances it is common in international arbitral proceedings that a losing claimant is ordered to bear the costs of the arbitration, as well as to contribute to the prevailing respondent’s reasonable costs of representation. This practice serves the dual function of reparation and dissuasion.

In this case, however, four factors militate against an award of costs. First, this is a new and novel mechanism for the resolution of international investment disputes. Although the Claimants have failed to make their case under the Nafta, the Arbitral Tribunal accepts, by way of limitation, that the legal constraints on such causes of action were unfamiliar. Secondly, the Claimants presented their case in an efficient and professional manner. Thirdly, the Arbitral Tribunal considers that by raising issues of defective performance (as opposed to voidness ab initio) without regard to the notice provisions of the Concession Contract, the Naucalpan Ayuntamiento may be said to some extent to have invited litigation. Fourthly, it appears that the persons most accountable for the Claimants’ wrongful behaviour would be the least likely to be affected by an award of costs; Mr. Goldenstein is beyond this Arbitral Tribunal’s jurisdiction, while Ms. Baca - who might as a practical matter be the most solvent of the Claimants - had no active role at any stage.

219.
In the present case, the Tribunal has found that Mexico is the successful party, except on issues of jurisdiction and/or admissibility.

VII. Decisions

222.
For the foregoing reasons, the Arbitral Tribunal renders the following decisions:

1) Finds that Mexico did not breach Articles 1102, 1105 or 1110 of the Nafta or otherwise;

2) Dismisses Thunderbird’s claims in their entirety;

3) Determines the costs of the arbitration referred to in 221 above at US$505,252.08, and further determines that these costs are to be shared by the Thunderbird and Mexico on a 3/4-1/4 basis, and are to be paid out of the deposits made by the Parties;

4) Determines that Thunderbird shall reimburse Mexico in the amount of US$ 1,126,549.38 in respect of the costs of legal representation and US$126,313.02 in respect of the deposits made by Mexico for the fees and disbursements of the Arbitral Tribunal.

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