Tuesday, December 20, 2005Contact: Maurits Bruggink
WTO agreement confirms countries' intention not to open gambling market

Governments reached an agreement during the bi-annual Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organisation, held in Hong Kong last weekend. The main positive element from the Ministerial was that it did not explode over controversial agricultural issues. The true optimists even believe that a conclusion of the Round can still be achieved by the end of 2006.

Betting services fall under the WTO services chapter, about which an agreement was also reached. However, betting has been excluded by most member countries from their WTO offerings, and this has not changed in Hong Kong.

Trade negotiations will intensify in 2006, but it seems unlikely that any country would offer access to its gambling market, or that it will be pressured by other countries to do so.

IFHA will continue to call for full national integrity on gaming legislation and a complete exclusion of gambling from WTO agreements.

The last, agreed draft of the Ministerial declaration can be found at:

E-Mail :