Casino, Lottery, Sports Betting Bills Take First Steps In Gambling-Averse Hawaii

Written By Brant James on February 4, 2022 - Last Updated on February 9, 2022
Indian Grey Mongoose Native To Hawaii, Representing Hawaii Gambling.

Hawaii and Utah are the only states with no form of legal gambling.

Gambling-friendly legislators in Hawaii keep trying to change that. Five different bills taking very preliminary steps are making their way through the Economic Development, Customer Protection and Commerce, Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs and Finance committees.

Each committee must sign off, which has made enacting gambling laws in Hawaii historically difficult. This has, in turn, allowed an underground gambling economy to thrive.

There were six gambling bills that withered in the blistering Hawaiian sun last year. Maybe legislators there detest the Small Asian mongoose enough to get something done this time.

Gambling bills being considered in Hawaii

Casino

House Bill 772 would grant a 10-year license for one stand-alone, members-only casino in Waikiki that was not in a hotel. It would also allow guests at least 21 years of age who register to stay one day and night at a hotel on Oahu admission at $20 per day.

Lastly, it would establish the Hawaii Gaming control Commission, impose wagering tax on gross receipts and create a state gaming fund and compulsive gambler program.

The bill paints gambling as a means of entertainment to rejuvenate Waikiki:

“Thirty years ago, Waikiki was the center of nightly entertainment in Hawaii. There were eight movie theater screens, multiple nightly live musical performances, a host of night clubs, and many other evening activities. Within the past few years, Waikiki has seen the movie theaters, musical performance venues, and night clubs all shut down, leaving Hawaii visitors with very few nighttime activities.”

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Sports betting

House Bill 1973 would legalize and regulate sports betting under the oversight of the state Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism. Operators would tax them at 10% of their adjusted gross gaming receipts.

Lottery/Sport Betting

House Bill 2040 and companion SB2365 would establish the Hawaiian Lottery and Gaming Corporation. Under this bill, sports betting will oversee by this new governing body.

Lottery

House Bill 2485 and companion SB2310 would establish a state lottery commission “to implement a lottery of which excess proceeds are deposited into the pest inspection, quarantine and eradication fund” to control invasive species (like the Small Asian mongoose).

Study

HB1962 would authorize a report on the potential revenue impact of casino gambling in Hawaii.

Photo by Thsulemani / Shutterstock.com
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Brant James

Brant James is a veteran journalist who has twice been recognized in the Associated Press Sports Editors Awards, most recently in 2020. He's covered motorsports, the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball among a myriad of others beats and written enterprise and sports business for publications including USA TODAY, ESPN.com, SI.com.

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