Gambling in Hawaii is explicitly prohibited by law. Utah is the only other state in the nation that prohibits gambling.
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February 3, 2021
Hawaii and Utah are the only two states in the nation that ban gambling in every form. However, that may change in Hawaii this year as the state government is facing budget shortfalls. The need for more revenues may result in the state legislature passing the state's first gambling act during this session.
Seven gambling bills have already been filed since the legislature recently convened.
Three bills propose a state lottery.
Two bills propose a single casino resort operated by the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands on DHHL land.
One bill proposes a feasibility study on various forms of gambling.
One bill proposes building a single, Las Vegas-style casino on the top of the Hawai'i Convention Center.
Most of the bills have already started the legislature process by being assigned to committees. In the months that follow, a few of them may emerge from committee for a debate and a vote on the floor.
January 5, 2021
The Hawaiian Homes Commission approved a draft legislative proposal in late December that would authorize the construction of a casino resort in Kapolei, Oahu. The proposed building site is a parcel of commercial land currently held in trust by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) and rumored to be near the Ka Makana Alii shopping center. The proposal would also establish the Hawaii Gaming Commission as a regulatory agency.
The legislative draft will now be submitted for review and consideration by the State Attorney General, the Department of Budget & Finance and Gov. David Ige. The governor has the option to include the draft bill in his 2021 packet to the legislature, however, Gov. Ige has already announced his opposition to it. Alternatively, there are two state senate bills ready to be introduced later this month.
Strong opposition is expected from state legislators, government officials and community leaders.
February 26, 2010
HONOLULU - A bill to allow casinos on Hawaiian home lands was rejected yesterday by the state House Finance Committee. The committee also decided to defer a bill to allow a casino on Oahu, thus effectively ending to Hawaiian casino controversy. The two casino bills had been pushed through preliminary committee review by House lawmakers interested in hearing ideas for new revenue.
State Rep. Marcus Oshiro, D-39th (Wahiawa), the chairman of the House Finance Committee, said it has been a decade since the state Legislature had looked carefully at gambling, and he wanted the newer house members to review the issue.
"They got an opportunity to hear the pros and cons," he said.
Strong opposition had grown from law enforcement, business leaders, social service providers and religious groups made making it nearly impossible to pass any gambling legislation.
February 1, 2010
The idea of a stand-alone casino in Waikiki is under consideration as a political possibility. A bill has been introduced to grant a 10-year license for a single casino in Waikiki. It would not include a hotel.
Eleven years ago state lawmakers considered a similar issue but rejected it.
"The issue is tourism, the issue is we need to find ways to get people to come here to Hawaii," said Hawaii lobbyist John Radcliffe. "The economy then was awful, the economy today is worst."
The bill would also establish the Hawaii Gaming Control Commission and would create a gambling addiction program.
"We believe that is far stronger among the tourist industry then it was then. We know that we need to be looking of other sources of revenue if we're going to have our state survive," said Radcliffe. "The China is the market that frankly we're aiming toward."
It is estimated the casino would create 4,000 jobs and bring the state about a half-billion dollars in revenue each year.
Radcliffe said, "$550 million that would be over the last 11 years that's $6 billion plus. If we could have captured just 15 or 20 percent of that we would not be in the shape that we are in the state of Hawaii."
May 14, 2009
The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act that was approved by the House and the Senate Indian Affairs Committee in 2007 has been reintroduced into Congress this week. The measure would give native Hawaiians federal recognition similar to that of American Indians except it prohibits gambling. Hawaii has previously outlawed all forms of gambling.
Senators Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye reintroduced it in the Senate, and Representatives Neil Abercrombie and Mazie Hirono reintroduced it in the House.
The four congressional members said in a joint news release issued in Washington, "We have been working together to enact the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, which is critical for the future of our state. After careful consideration, we have decided to move forward with the version of the bill which was approved by the relevant congressional committees and the full House in 2007."
December 21, 2009
WASHINGTON - Two congressional committees will consider whether native Hawaiians should have their own government similar to Native Americans tribes.
The House Natural Resources Committee will consider a bill Wednesday and the Senate Indian Affairs Committee will consider a similar bill Thursday.
The legislation is known as the Akaka bill named after its sponsor, Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii. It would provide a "road map" towards establishment of a Native Hawaiian government.
"I believe we must provide parity between Native Hawaiians and our country's other indigenous people," said Akaka.
If passed, the Native Hawaiian government would then negotiate with the state and the federal government to determine what assets it owns.
Similar legislation has passed the House twice before, as recently as October 2007. However, the Senate has not passed prior bills. It was also opposed by the Bush administration, but it is now expected to be supported by President Obama, who was born in Hawaii.
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