The Boston Globe has an editorial calling for an end on the state-imposed cap on the number of liquor licenses issued in Boston:
While Boston can't issue new licenses, well-financed restaurateurs can buy them from someone else. But because of the artificial scarcity of licenses, a full liquor license can go for more than $300,000. Even a beer and wine license often costs $40,000 or more — a crippling expense to someone like Henry-Garrett, who bought her restaurant tables at Ikea to save money.
Though opaque to outsiders, the market for Boston alcohol licenses is manageable for large hospitality companies. It works well for lawyers and brokers who've mastered the process, and for the elected officials to whom they contribute. Yet the cost and complexity of the system freezes out a classic American type — plucky entrepreneurs, often immigrants or first-generation strivers, who start restaurants on a shoestring. "Why should I have to call a lawyer first," asks Henry-Garrett, "to even know what the process is?"
The cap on liquor licenses creates broader problems. The system has, for instance, become a locus for political corruption. Former state senator Dianne Wilkerson — whose district included Roxbury, a neighborhood long starved for economic development — took bribes in exchange for trying to steer a license to a local businessman.
The editorial focuses on liquor licenses, but the statements can be generalized to other regulations as well — they tend to help lawyers, politicians, lobbyist-fixers and those with the means to hire them, while hurting would-be new entrants like immigrant entrepreneurs or undercapitalized small businesses.