Anti-Gambling Pundits in Liechtenstein Lose Bid To Cancel Casinos

An attempt to bring the cancel culture to Liechtenstein’s casino industry has failed. A push for a public vote to remove the European country’s gambling houses fizzled; however, the group behind the initiative isn’t likely to give up so easily.

Casino Schaanwald
Casino Schaanwald
Casino Schaanwald in Schaanwald, Liechtenstein, at dusk. An effort to cancel casinos in the European country has failed. (Image: Zeit Verlag Anstalt)

An overwhelming majority of locals made their voices heard on Sunday. They ventured out into the cold to respond to a referendum that could have led to Liechtenstein’s six casinos having to shut down within the next five years.

One by one, they let IG VolksMeinung (“popular opinion” in German), the group that launched the effort, know how they felt. By the time the counting was done, the answer was clear.

Saying No to Cancel Casino Culture

Volksblatt, the country’s primary news outlet, reported that 10,383 of the 14,383 local residents called upon to vote showed up to vote. That’s around 70% of the segment, a clear indication that the majority of the population wanted to weigh in on the subject.

Of that group, over 73% said that IG VolksMeinung was wrong in trying to force the issue. Instead, the “Las Vegas of the Alps” will continue to invite tourists from all over to visit its casinos.

The outcome doesn’t come as a shock to many. IG VolksMeinung was fighting an uphill battle from the start, with everyone from the national parliament to local businesses to Prince Hans-Adam II speaking out against the measure.

The citizens group argued that the country is being “overrun” by casinos and problem gambling. However, according to Volksblatt, Liechtenstein’s casino footprint is heavy and there’s zero evidence of widespread gambling addiction.

Furthermore, the six casinos outweigh the amount of gambling that takes place. As a result, at least one of the properties will likely close within the next couple of years.

It isn’t clear what’s in store for the interest group now that their initial attempt has ended in defeat. They didn’t respond to a request for comment from before press time, but history shows that most special interest groups don’t give up so easily.

Some Mixed Reactions

While the measure overwhelmingly failed, there were some areas of Liechtenstein that showed more support for it the ban than others. For example, 32.2 of the respondents in Balzers voted yes on the referendum. The village is about eight minutes to the south of Casino Admiral Triesen.

That was the location with the highest support for the measure. It and Schaan were the only two villages to register approval of more than 30%. Schaan is home to the Place Casino Liechtenstein.

IG VolksMeinung argued that the microstate’s reputation was suffering because of the presence of casinos. However, Liechtenstein rarely registers more than a blip on the international gambling scene.

If anything, the gambling venues have helped attract new business and tourism to the region. In addition, with the attention the attempt to shut down the casinos received, the market is likely to see a temporary uptick in activity.

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