Legal Gambling In Hawaii Is As Real As Ever

Image by Justin Lam
Article by : Helen Dec 30, 2020

When it comes to the states with the most comprehensive gambling legislation, the experts will immediately point to Utah and Hawaii. Gambling is still prohibited in many states across the country, but most of them have allowed at least certain gambling types. Hawaii is not the case. The Hawaii gambling laws have remained almost unchanged since the state joined the US in 1959. On the contrary, all the amendments to the gambling legislation have only strengthened the anti-gambling regulations.

However, desperate times call for desperate measures. 2020 has shown that all countries’ governments should be ready to find ways of filling the budget gaps caused by unforeseen circumstances. For many countries, gambling became the option that would help make up for the losses, and Hawaii is no exception. The idea of legalizing gambling in Hawaii is now as real as ever. More than that, the idea of launching the casino is not coming from the private sector but from the government. Hawaii’s Department of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL) suggests launching the first casino resort in the state on Oahu’s island.

The DHHL is particularly responsible for assisting native Hawaiians with their housing needs. Still, due to the pandemic and national lockdowns, it doesn’t have enough resources to continue its operations properly. Currently, it is actively figuring out how to fill a US$6-billion gap in the budget, which is a major roadblock on its way to providing people with adequate service.

Given the impact of COVID-19 on our state’s economy, the department is proposing a bold measure that has proven successful for indigenous groups in generating critically needed revenue to improve the lives of their people.

DHHL representative while talking about a launch of a casino resort as a potential way of offsetting the losses

Seeing the success of gambling in many other countries worldwide, the DHHL thinks that it’s a good time to break with traditions and introduce gambling to all the Hawaiians. Apart from that, legal gambling will be the best way to eliminate illegal gambling properties stretched across the island.

So, the first step towards legalizing gambling in Hawaii was already done by the DHHL. The next major step is to receive approval for the concept. The proposal is about to pass a long way until it gets a green light. At first, the Hawaiian Homes Commission will decide whether the proposal is acceptable or not. If it says “yes,” the concept moves on to David Ige, the state’s governor. After that, approval should be received from Hawaii’s House of Representatives and Senate that are currently controlled by Democrats.

Of course, there are going to be many roadblocks on the way to legalizing gambling in Hawaii. Without any doubt, it will be rather difficult to convince the majority of the population that opening gambling venues is a great idea. Gambling experts should be ready to address such arguments as: “casinos lead to gambling addiction,” “casinos mean more crime,” and “casinos associate with drugs and harassment.” These are mainly public assertions that are not based on real data and statistics, but they will definitely come up from gambling foes.

Senator Gilbert Keith-Agaran introduced a pair of bills, hoping to legalize gambling in Hawaii soon. At the same time, he acknowledges that legalizing gambling has its pros and cons. “What we don’t want to do is rely on it, but I’m interested in finding funding for things like medical services in rural areas. Either we fund it with this, or we have to find the money somewhere else”, Keith-Agaran said.

Helen

Chief Editor

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