From the Emerging Trends Trader (AUSTRALIA) –
Gambling. Drugs. Smoking. Alcohol. Prostitution.
When asked, these are the five ‘activities’ that most people would consider as ‘vices’.
But not all vices are the same — in the eyes of the government, anyway.
In terms of laws, regulations, and treatment, gambling, smoking and alcohol are grudgingly accepted by most governments. While they may officially frown on them, and even discourage them through public service advertising campaigns, they aren’t seen as illegal activities.
In fact, the stance of governments against gambling, smoking, and alcohol is somewhat hypocritical, due to the fact that state and federal governments raise so much in taxes from each of these activities.
According to the Cancer Council, in 2012, 63.1% of the cost of a packet of cigarettes was a combination of state and federal taxes. A cynic might say that if the government really was worried about the health and social effects of these vices, they would just ban them outright.
Though a ban would likely be ineffectual, at least the legal aspect would match the rhetoric. Whether you agree or disagree with Prohibition in the US during the 1920s and 1930s, at least you have to commend them for favouring their morals over their urge to raise tax revenue.
But regardless of that, the ‘vices’ aren’t just for consumption or taxation. They’re potentially for investing too. In Australia and worldwide there are many opportunities for investors to bet on (or against) ‘vice stocks’…
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