Friday, January 26, 2007

Selling monopolies in Illinois

The state of Illinois is apparently going to sell off the its lottery to a private business to raise some quick cash. Presumably they'll hand over some of the physical lottery infrastructure to the buyer- that number-selecting machine with the swirling balls that they show on TV, for instance- but the real asset being sold here is simply the right to forcibly exclude competitors, and have the state of Illinois provide the muscle. If someone tries to compete with Lottery Inc., the cops will throw them in jail.

What will follow is predictable. The "private" lottery company will use its monopoly power to exploit the lottery-playing public. People will get angry, and what will they say? They'll hold this up as proof that the private sector doesn't work. Yet again, the free market will be blamed for the failings of interventionism and cronyism.

Hat tip: Hit and Run.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments: