Thursday, September 16, 2010

EU judges befriend gambling kings

The power hunger of the Eurocrats never ends. Now the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg has decided that Germany has to give up its gambing monopoly. According to the court it had undermined its consumer-protection argument by letting state-run gambling companies engage in "intensive advertising campaigns" and by permitting a proliferation of automated gambling machines, which the court said were highly addictive.

Gambling is one of the "sins" that are used as cash cows by governments with their "sin taxes". The most famous are the taxes on alcohol and tobacco. On gambling many governments prefer to keep monopolies because the bookkeeping of gambling dens is usually highly unreliable - and as a consequence they pay too little - and because it allows the government to keep tight control over the ways gambling is promoted.

What the court now is doing is:
- it denies Germany the right to one of the sin taxes. Please note the the right to taxation is one of the most fundamental national rights.
- it diminishes Germany's control over the ways in which gambling is promoted
- it ignores that governments need to promote national gambling in order to prevent losing market share to illegal operations.
- it pretends that gambling is a market. But there is no way in which gambling can be more "efficient". The only benefits from a free markets here are that we give some shady people with low moral standards a license to prey on other people.

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