The microstate of Liechtenstein will continue to be known as the Las Vegas of the Alps after voters said a resounding “No” to a proposed ban on casinos in the tiny country. The referendum was organized after pressure group IG Volksmeinung claimed that the “casino flood” was tarnishing the international reputation of the country which is the same size as the city of Brussels.
The Government and the Prince Are Against the Ban
The pressure group was campaigning for the ban, arguing that Liechtenstein was on an international blacklist for a very long time and that it only saved its reputation after it eased bank secrecy legislation ten years ago. IG Volksmeinung was worried that Liechtenstein risked being demoted to a shady tax haven once again if it continued to support the gambling industry.
However, the ban was a no-go right from the start. Both the government and the Prince of Liechtenstein were against it, saying the gambling industry was a crucial part of the country’s economy and responsible for a lot of the income coming into Liechtenstein’s coffers.
State officials claimed a ban was too radical of a measure for addressing issues such as problem gambling. Instead, they pointed to the benefits of a well-regulated market.
73% of Voters Said “Yes” to Casinos in Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein’s voters shared those sentiments. As Euronews reported, as many as 73% of the people who voted in the referendum were against the proposed casino ban, while only 27% voted for the ban to be imposed.
The turnout of 70% surprised many, but according to experts, it was indicative of a nation trying to make a point and advise the government not to fix something that isn’t broken.
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