Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Nexus and the Olive: Greece Set to Tax Slots

by Vito J. Racanelli


March 26, 2011

Some of the world's better market bets are found at the nexus of politics and desperation. And which is one of the world's most desperate elected governments? Look to Athens.

The Greek state, a benefactor in 2010 of the 110-billion-euro ($154 billion) bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, still hasn't gotten its fiscal act together. It's looking under every beach chair and rock in the Aegean for new revenue sources.

If history over the last 50 years is any guide, when politicians need cash after raising taxes, the next-most-expedient measure may be to legalize certain outlawed activities in order to raise badly needed funds.

Time and again, strapped governments widen the scope of legalized gambling—considered a voluntary tax—in an attempt to mitigate increased levies.

Greece is no exception. Plenty of new taxes were introduced last year, but earlier this month, the government was hard at work on writing a draft law to regulate the large illicit portion of its gambling industry.


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