As the Liechtenstein parliament, Landtag, debated the design of a size-compatible casino landscape in the country on November 6 and 7, the center-left green party, Free List, demanded that the government limit the number of casinos. In the party’s view, the government should increase the tax on the gross gaming revenues of the casinos from the current slab between 17.5 and 40% to 27.5 and 80%. The discussions in the parliament will ultimately decide on the number of casinos that can be run in the small country.
Volksblatt.li reported that the parties in the government – the Progressive Citizens’ Party (FBP) and the Patriotic Union (VU) – along with the Independents (DU) in the opposition, have supported a change in the casino allocation policy. With a view to giving more licenses to casinos, the government had already transferred its concession system to the police, whereby anyone who meets the specified requirements receives a license to do so. Earlier, the number of concessions was limited to one. However, the police license system has no limits. The government has thus given up its decision-making responsibility in the process of awarding casino licenses, and left it to the market forces.
The Free List maintains that six casinos in the country are already too many, and wants to correct the liberal legislation regarding their regulation. This is necessary as the existing ‘effective control mechanisms’ are found to be inadequate.
Liechtenstein is a small country with a population of around 40,000 people. Until 2010, gambling was banned in the country by a legislation in effect since 1949. It was only in 2010 that the Landtag approved a law known as Geldspielgesetz (GSG), which lifted the ban on playing for money and allowed for the operation of official casinos in the country’s territory. Consequently, within a short span of time, Liechtenstein has quietly developed into a European gambling mecca.