Yes. Absolutely yes! In fact monopolies can not survive without government protection. The economist Murray Rothbard pointed this out. (Others have too.)
In the event of a “free market” monopoly (Actually a misuse of the word “monopoly.” According to Rothbard monopolies were originally granted by a king etc.) the colluders almost always start to undercut each other once they arrive at an agreement. Then sooner or later the cartel starts to fall apart. The only thing that can keep this medium term disintegration from happening is government. As such business people become cronies and climb into bed with government.
Consider the monopolies one deals with in American life. Can you think of one monopoly which is not or has not been aided by the government?
This is a pretty broad and bold statement. Is there ONE monopoly that rose in a free market/price system that continues to exist to this day without help from government regulators? If there is we would love to hear about it and we will happy examine it.
Regulation can increase monopoly power by raising barriers to entry. If a new startup has to wade through oceans of red tape, pay millions of dollars in compliance costs and develop a whole regulatory compliance infrastructure just to start to be able to compete in a market, it gives the big established players a huge and enduring advantage. Big companies are able to bear the cost of regulation much better than small ones. If it turns out that regulation is a central reason behind increased market concentration, I’ll have to become much more libertarian.