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Liechtenstein is one of the smallest countries in the world, with a population of only about 37,000 people, making it only the size of a very small city. It is also small in area, consisting of an area of only 67 square miles. However, they do boast a nominal GDP of over $5 billion a year, giving them the highest GDP per capita in the world. (1)
Due to their low tax rates, there are 73,000 businesses in Liechtenstein, twice as many as there are people here. Needless to say, while this country has an extremely low population, the people they do have are pretty affluent.
None of these 73,000 companies are gambling companies though, and land based gambling hasn’t come to Liechtenstein yet, although there are some real plans to change that in the very near future.
There has been talk of a casino in Liechtenstein since all the way back in 1868, when the country was facing financial troubles and building a casino was proposed to generate some more revenue for the country. However, Liechtenstein’s ruler at the time, Prince Johan I, decided to pay this debt off out of his own pocket rather than see gambling legalized and proliferate here. (2)
Over the years, several other attempts to legalize gambling surfaced, but none were successful. They did have a lottery that ran here for a number of years, and was in fact the first lottery to take advantage of the internet to sell tickets, but it ended up going bankrupt in 2011.
This gives us a taste of the additional challenges that such a small country brings to the table, as states generally have no trouble generating lots of profit from lotteries, but keep in mind that we’re talking about a country with less than 40,000 people, so the administrative costs generally comprise a disproportionate amount of overall revenue.
Liechtenstein did put together a set of gambling laws in 2009, which sets out regulations for licensing gambling operations in the country, including the licensing of casinos, but once again, the people of Liechtenstein are still waiting for their first casino. (3)
Recently, a casino was planned to be built in Liechtenstein, finally after all these years, but the deal ended up falling through, and therefore the people living here are still waiting for this to happen.
Liechtenstein is also considering offering remote gambling licenses, as they look to the success of other very small countries in Europe who successfully license foreign online gambling companies. Liechtenstein is definitely tax friendly and they have been able to attract quite a bit of non gambling businesses to their country, so they may indeed be able to pull that off at some point down the road, but it’s at best just on the drawing board right now. (4)
Playing Poker in Liechtenstein
There are no places in Liechtenstein where you can play live poker, although if they ever get a casino built here, which will probably happen sooner rather than later, this casino may offer live poker, although on the other hand it would probably be a small one indeed given the small size of this country, and therefore whatever poker action there, if any, will probably be very limited indeed.
The laws of Liechtenstein don’t address the legality of online poker at this time, and some people think that this means it’s a grey area so to speak, but the nature of law is such that if something isn’t prohibited it is permitted, as actions do not require legal approval.
So people in Liechtenstein are free to get their poker fix by visiting one of the many online poker sites out there. Now given this is a German-speaking country, there are quite a few sites that operate under this language, including 888 Poker – which just so happens to also offer new players $88 free just for signing up.
All online gambling sites accept players from Liechtenstein, including online poker sites, as there is no reason why they would not, although players in some other countries are not so fortunate.
There are always sites that will accept players though from a particular country no matter what the country, so it’s not that anyone is getting shut out here, although they may get shut out from particular online poker sites, such as is the case with United States residents for instance.
Poker players in Liechtenstein don’t have to worry at all about this though, which is certainly a good thing, nor do they have to worry about their government seeking to block them from accessing certain online poker sites, as we see in quite a few countries these days.
While the government of Liechtenstein does have its eye on online gambling regulation these days, there’s no reason to suspect that the people of Liechtenstein are even to be involved in this, as they are at best looking to license foreign sites, and if that happens, you can bet that they aren’t going to be looking to restrict their own people from these offshore online poker sites, or even offshore online poker sites in general.
So for the relatively few poker players who live in Liechtenstein, things are great and the future looks great as well. We’ll have to see if live poker ever comes here as well.