Hawaii was among the US states that had no form of legal gambling. But hopefully, that is about to change.
Rep. John Mizuno announced that he would introduce his Sports Gaming Bill on Jan. 9 to Hawaii’s Legislature.
Hawaiians find their way to place bets
As it happens in most cases, US citizens who live in states that do not allow legal sports betting travel to the states where gambling is legal. They frequently visit the most popular gambling destinations, like Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
John Mizuno believes it is better to introduce a Hawaii gambling bill, discuss options and, eventually, keep the money that gambling brings within the state.
As Mizuno told KHon2:
“With Hawaiʻi residents dropping a billion dollars to Las Vegas, Nevada every year, I think a sports and card gaming bill warrants at least a discussion. If crime is associated with gambling, why is gaming legal in 48 states and why are so many Hawaiʻi residents going to Las Vegas, with many taking multiple trips?
The people I know who enjoy trips to Las Vegas are mostly kūpuna, not criminals. I feel it is important to discuss options to keep local money in the local economy.”
The lawmaker introduced House Bill 1815 in February 2022. He argued that thousands of Hawaiians were also using illegal offshore websites to place bets.
With many gambling bills considered in the state, Hawaii’s sports betting bill (H 1107) was among the most extensive ones. It was created in 2019 to help the Hawaii Sports Wagering Corporation oversee sports betting within the state.
Mizuno says Hawaiians gamble $400 to $800 million a year in Nevada
Mizuno cited a Honolulu Civil Beat article from December 2011. He emphasized that, according to Boyd Gaming, the company earns about $600 million from Hawaii visitors each year.
At the same time, thousands of residents spend money on legal sports betting, heading to Nevada or other attractive gambling destinations. Mizuno commented:
“Hawaii residents take over 500,000 visits a year to Las Vegas, with many visiting two or three times per year; they are spending and gambling $400 to $800 million a year in Nevada. Our job is to keep a portion of that money for our local economy and our local people.”
Mizuno’s said the proposed legislation would allow players to access sportsbooks and card rooms after registering with the premises and paying a daily fee.
Mizuno believes the state would have other benefits as well. As he told KHon2 in February 2022: “Capture some of the tax revenue — which could go for a lot of good things like Hawaiian Homelands, affordable housing, and education for kids.”