Liechtenstein, one of the world’s smallest independent nations, has voted to allow its casinos to continue to operate. The principality will continue to live up to its name as “Las Vegas of the Alps.”
The proposal, presented to the voters by pressure group IG Volksmeinung, was presented as a way of ridding Liechtenstein of casino venues which, the activists said, were creating gambling addictions among local residents and giving Liechtenstein a bad name.
But the vote, in January 2023, affirmed citizens’ satisfaction with current laws which allow Liechtenstein’s six casinos, and other offshore casino sites to continue operations. What’s more, they are offering coupons codes with exciting offer. To redeem the coupons, visit UptownPokiesBonuscodes.
Liechtenstein Casino History
Today Liechtenstein has more casinos per capita than Macau but surprisingly, unlike the nearby casino mecca of Monaco where casinos have operated for centuries, the casino industry in Liechtenstein is quite new.
There are currently six casinos in the country of 40,000 and 4 more are planned. In the early years, when gambling was first legalized in Liechtenstein, it was assumed that the casinos would service visitors from neighboring Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Italy.
But the number of visitors has continued to grow since 2017 when the first of the current six casinos was first legalized in Liechtenstein. Now the prospect of having 10 casinos in a country the geographic size of Washington, DC has become a divisive issue.
Hansjörg Frick, a former politician and a founder of IG Volksmeinung is adamant that Liechtenstein needs neither the casinos nor the money that they bring. “We don’t want to be associated with them,” Frick said during the campaign to return Liechtenstein to its pre-2017 status re: gambling venues.
According to Christian Frommelt, the director of the independent research organization Liechtenstein Institut, the casinos have pitted Catholic rural values against more urban liberal economic values, creating a clash between residents of Liechtenstein’s different communities.
The currently operating casinos are small venues run by foreign operators. Locals were surprised by how quickly the casino industry expanded but as January’s vote showed, they are satisfied with the results. Liechtenstein levies a tax rate of between 17.5% – 40% on gambling revenue, depending on the casino’s intake which is a boon to the local economy.
Even though the increasing number of casino openings in Liechtenstein are met with concern, even by casino supporters, the overall sentiment seems to indicate that the locals believe that eventually the market will regulate itself and the strongest casinos will win out while the others will fade away.
As to the argument that the presence of casinos promotes gambling addiction among locals, casino supporters point to official statistics released last that that how that over two-thirds of visits were made by visitors from outside the country.
Even government officials who, theoretically support the free market economy’s embrace of the casino industry, are wary. Sabine Monauni, Deputy Prime Minister of Liechtenstein, said that policymakers need to take action “so that we don’t turn into Las Vegas.”
Some adjustments were made in 2022 including making it more costly for casinos to run. But so far, none of the casinos that opened have closed and four more are scheduled to open in the coming years.
Critics say that the casinos could be used to launder money and could negatively impact on Liechtenstein’s efforts to erase its reputation as a tax haven for tax dodgers from other countries. They also point to ethical issues including Liechtenstein’s casinos’ willingness to welcome players who have been excluded in other countries.
In the end though, Liechtenstein voters soundly rejected a proposed ban on casinos by a 73% – 27% majority. 70% of the country’s voters cast their vote to keep – and expand – the casino economy. Liechtenstein’s prince spoke out against the ban as did many government officials who said that a ban was too drastic a measure to address the problems that the casinos were said to bring.
Saying NO To Cancel Casino Culture
According to Volksblatt, the primary news outlet in Liechtenstein, approximately 70% of the eligible residents, which translates to 10,383 out of 14,383 individuals, participated in expressing their opinions through voting.
This significant turnout indicates a strong desire among the population to engage and have a say in the matter actively. The high level of participation demonstrates the community’s clear interest and involvement, emphasizing the importance of having their voices heard regarding the subject being discussed.
The engagement of such a substantial segment of the population highlights the significance and relevance of the topic in the eyes of the people of Liechtenstein.
The outcome of the vote did not come as a surprise to many, as there were multiple influential voices opposing the measure. From the national parliament to local businesses and even Prince Hans-Adam II, there was widespread criticism against the initiative.
The group advocating for the measure, IG VolksMeinung, argued that the country was facing excessive casinos and potential issues with problem gambling. However, there is no substantial evidence of widespread gambling addiction in Liechtenstein.
With six casinos currently operating, there are more gambling options available than the demand necessitates, and it is anticipated that at least one casino may close in the near future.
The plans of the interest group following the defeat are still being determined, as they did not provide a comment. Nevertheless, historical trends suggest that most special interest groups do not give up easily and may continue their efforts in some capacity.
Online Casinos in Liechtenstein
Many gamers in Liechtenstein prefer to play online games at the online casino. Liechtenstein has not explicitly legalized online casinos so there are no Internet casinos that operate within Liechtenstein. Liechtenstein residents, however, do have access to offshore casino platforms and can gamble legally as long as the company has a proper license.
EU laws regulate online gaming activities of Liechtenstein citizens. These regulations are found in Article 56 TFEU2 and Article 8 of Directive 98/34/EC, the EU gambling directives which state that EU online gambling companies can provide access to the Liechtenstein market in a way that ensures free competition and free trade of services within the Eurozone.
To date online gambling companies cannot acquire local licenses in Liechtenstein but foreign internet gambling platforms are not blocked and locals in Liechtenstein can play freely online on any online gambling platform.