Eastern Europe: Red Roulette

In mellowing but still Marxist Eastern Europe, nothing has succeeded quite so well as one eminently collective enterprise: gambling. With government takes from legal wagering in the eight Comecon countries running well beyond $1 billion a year, betting is becoming one of the biggest businesses in the bloc.

Not too many years ago in these countries, gambling was outlawed because of the notion that good socialists should keep their noses to the grindstone, not the wheel. No longer. Nowadays, the comrades are increasingly addicted to ubiquitous lotteries and numbers games. They...

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