The legislature finds that gambling is now legal in forty-eight out of fifty states.
For the people of Hawaii, gambling is as popular as it is in the rest of the country,
but it remains illegal within its borders. With no local venues or tax for gambling,
Hawaii remains a target market for a growing number of jurisdictions where gambling is legal.
Hawaii residents generate hundreds of millions of dollars, perhaps billions,
in economic activity in other jurisdictions related to gambling and in return,
Hawaii receives no benefit.
Hawaii residents take an estimated five hundred thousand trips to Las Vegas
and other gambling destinations each year, with many residents making multiple trips per year.
In 2011, it was reported that Boyd Gaming, a Nevada-based gaming corporation,
earns about $600,000,000 from Hawaii annually.
In 2021, the chief executive officer of Boyd Gaming disclosed
on an investor call that the company relies heavily on gamblers coming from Hawaii.
Gaming revenues for Boyd Gaming from downtown Las Vegas, where locals often visit,
declined sixty-three per cent to $257,700,000 as a result of coronavirus disease 2019 travel restrictions.
A longtime lobbyist for gambling interests in Hawaii testified
to the house of representatives committee on tourism in 2012 that the
"prohibition of that which is legal nearly everywhere else costs Hawaii
$1,000,000,000 each year in outgoing dollars and returns none".
Despite its prohibition, Hawaii carries an economic burden from gambling.
A 2009 study by the National Council on Problem Gambling estimated
that the social costs of gambling addiction in Hawaii from twenty thousand
problem gamblers and ten thousand pathological gamblers was $26,300,000;
no public funding was provided for gambling treatment and prevention.
The Honolulu police department reported fifty-one arrests in 2020 and
thirty-four arrests in 2019 for gambling offenses,
and there are approximately seventy to one hundred illegal gambling rooms on Oahu alone.
Legislation introduced in the 2021 legislative session proposed
to authorize limited casino gambling in the form of a single integrated
resort property on Hawaiian home lands designated for commercial use
on the island of Oahu excluding lands west of Ko Olina to address
historic funding shortfalls to the department of Hawaiian home lands.
With over twenty-eight thousand native Hawaiians awaiting homestead leases,
the department of Hawaiian home lands struggles to develop land and lots.
Current costs for infrastructure development, borne by the department
of Hawaiian home lands, are in excess of $150,000 per lot.
To fulfill the needs of the current waitlist, the department of
Hawaiian home lands requires over $6,000,000,000 for infrastructure
costs alone to serve its beneficiaries.
This significant sum is separate and apart from costs for maintenance
of existing lessee community housing for nearly ten thousand beneficiaries,
upkeep of several utility systems, and other costs.
Hawaii and Utah remain the only states without legalized gambling of any kind.
Hawaii's love of gambling can be seen in Nevada's casinos, the top destination for
islanders and sometimes referred to as the "ninth Hawaiian island."
Boyd's Vacations Hawaii charters more than 10,000 Hawaii travelers every month to Las Vegas
THE FUTURE OF GAMBLING
by Dr. Felicia Campbell, a associate professor in the English Department at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.
In our highly technical society where machine-tooled perfection is an ideal,
the gambler has acquired a bad press. He is frequently viewed as an erratic, unstable,
and irresponsible sort, driven by unknown forces to take foolish and unnecessary chances.
The results of this risk-taking may be financially and psychologically dangerous to the gambler,
as well as to those whose lives interact with his.
But gambling is a fundamental human activity, which can sere a valuable function for
both the individual and society. In the future, the positive aspects of gambling may be
increasingly recognized; society may revise its view of the gambler and learn to use the
gambling experience as effective therapy. Through gambling, many individuals can become
more actively involved in life. Others can obtain needed psychological release from tension and drudgery.
Why has gambling earned the disapproval of society? A partial answer lies in our values.
For years we have been taught that happiness lies in riding the consumer merry-go-round,
hoping to catch the brass ring of contentment. Accepted goals were to be realistic and attainable--
a spouse, a home in the suburbs, and 2.2 children. So ran the middle class ideal, the "American Dream."
Terrence Lanni, Past Chairman of MGM Grand
I think when it comes, as an industry, generally, we've been very good about helping local,
charitable causes in the areas in which we operate. We tend to be very, very generous;
individuals within the industry; the industry itself. That part, I think we get very good grades on.
I think from a regulatory standpoint, and the decency of the individuals involved in the industry,
following those processes, we're very good at.
I've always found gaming just to be an extension of entertainment. You might enjoy going to the movies.
You might enjoy a good play. You might enjoy every different sport that might take place and gaming
is just another aspect of it. It kind of reminds me of when I talk to friends of mine who say they're
going to go to Las Vegas. And they say, "Well, I'm going to do..." You know? They spend a couple days and
"I'm going to see these shows and I'm going to these signature restaurants, and I'm going to take
five hundred dollars along to gamble with." I think it's just part of an entertainment budget.
It's just part of the whole process. So to me, it's just kind of fun.
By Jim Boersema - partner with Starr Seigle Communications.
WOULD legalized gambling be good or bad for Hawaii's economy?
We've debated this question for years without resolution. Both sides have presented
an array of statistics to bolster their arguments.
Those in favor cite job growth and increased revenue.
Those opposed claim social costs outweigh any economic benefits.
Both sides refer to studies and polls supporting their sides of the debate.
Nearly everyone in Hawaii agrees our economy needs an overhaul. Its bright spots,
such as the current housing market, are exceptions. The Star-Bulletin reported last
summer that a U.S. Conference of Mayors study of economic growth in the decade
ending in 2001 ranked Honolulu dead last, compared to 318 other metropolitan areas.
Like all studies, this one is probably imperfect, but few in business here would argue that,
compared to the rest of the nation, Hawaii has long been near the bottom in economic growth.
GIVEN that changes must be made, I believe our leaders must explore all alternatives --
high tech, medical research and wellness centers, new forms of agriculture,
international conferencing and, yes, legalized gambling. Gambling won't turn our
economy around by itself but, done correctly, it could make a positive contribution.
That's the key -- doing it right. For example, a state lottery is probably not the way to go.
Lotteries create few jobs and bring little, if any, new revenue into a marketplace.
Through legislation and by contract we can guarantee casino gambling will make
a positive impact on our economy without our becoming dependent upon it.
FOR EXAMPLE, any bill allowing a company to operate a casino could require developers to:
Spend at least $500 million on facilities improving our overall visitor base, such as luxury
hotels or a world-class aquarium, which could generate tens of millions in tax revenues.
Create no fewer than 5,000 permanent new jobs for local residents.
Pay an upfront licensing fee as soon as approval is granted. For example, a $100 million licensing
fee could be used to construct the new University of Hawaii medical school.
Agree to an annual gaming tax that could guarantee another $40-$50 million per year.
Agree to use local vendors and suppliers whenever possible.
By offering a set number of licenses on a competitive basis, Hawaii could limit the expansion
of gambling while awarding licenses to corporations that offer the best bargain. Other states,
such as Connecticut, have used similar legislation effectively.
FEARS that Hawaii will become a gambling destination with dozens of casinos
like Las Vegas are overblown. Three-quarters of Americans live within a four-hour drive of a casino;
China and Korea recently expanded their gambling resorts;
and Mexico and Thailand have just legalized casino gambling
712-1220 Definitions of terms in this part. In this part unless a different meaning
plainly is required, the following definitions apply.
(1) "Advance gambling activity". A person "advances gambling activity" if he engages in conduct
that materially aids any form of gambling activity. Conduct of this nature includes
but is not limited to conduct directed toward the creation or establishment of the particular game,
contest, scheme, device, or activity involved, toward the acquisition or maintenance of premises,
paraphernalia, equipment, or apparatus therefor, toward the solicitation or inducement of persons
to participate therein, toward the actual conduct of the playing phases thereof, toward the arrangement
of any of its financial or recording phases, or toward any other phase of its operation.
A person advances gambling activity if, having substantial proprietary control or other authoritative
control over premises being used with his knowledge for purposes of gambling activity,
he permits that activity to occur or continue or makes no effort to prevent its occurrence or continuation.
A person advances gambling activity if he plays or participates in any form of gambling activity.
(2) "Bookmaking" means advancing gambling activity by accepting bets from members
of the public upon the outcomes of future contingent events.
(3) "Contest of chance" means any contest, game, gaming scheme, or gaming device
in which the outcome depends in a material degree upon an element of chance,
notwithstanding that skill of the contestants may also be a factor therein.
(4) "Gambling". A person engages in gambling if he stakes or risks something of value upon
the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under his control or influence,
upon an agreement or understanding that he or someone else will receive something of value
in the event of a certain outcome. Gambling does not include bona fide business transactions
valid under the law of contracts, including but not limited to contracts for the purchase
or sale at a future date of securities or commodities, and agreements to compensate for loss
caused by the happening of chance, including but not limited to contracts of indemnity or
guaranty and life, health, or accident insurance.
(5) "Gambling device" means any device, machine, paraphernalia, or equipment that is used
or usable in the playing phases of any gambling activity, whether that activity consists of
gambling between persons or gambling by a person involving the playing of a machine.
However, lottery tickets and other items used in the playing phases of lottery schemes are
not gambling devices within this definition.
(6) "Lottery" means a gambling scheme in which:
(a) The players pay or agree to pay something of value for chances, represented and
differentiated by numbers or by combinations of numbers or by some other medium,
one or more of which chances are to be designated the winning ones; and
(b) The winning chances are to be determined by a drawing or by some other method
based on an element of chance; and
(c) The holders of the winning chances are to receive something of value.
(7) "Mutuel" means a form of lottery in which the winning chances or plays are not determined
upon the basis of a drawing or other act on the part of persons conducting or connected
with the scheme, but upon the basis of the outcome or outcomes of a future contingent event
or events otherwise unrelated to the particular scheme.
(8) "Player" means a person who engages in gambling solely as a contestant or bettor.
(9) "Profit from gambling activity". A person "profits from gambling activity" if he accepts or
receives money or other property pursuant to an agreement or understanding with any person
whereby he participates or is to participate in the proceeds of gambling activity.
(10) "Social gambling" is defined in section 712-1231.
(11) "Something of value" means any money or property, any token, object, or article exchangeable
for money or property, or any form of credit or promise directly or indirectly contemplating transfer
of money or property or of any interest therein, or involving extension of a service or entertainment.
Economic projections are that Hawaii will receive as much as $2.8 billion less over the next
two years than its current budget requires. While cost-cutting measures may improve things slightly,
a large new revenue stream such as could be derived from gaming would make sense.
State politicians have said legalized gambling might be explored before considering tax raises.
Casinos combined with Hawaii's natural beauty and beach resorts seem like a natural draw to increase tourism.
Senator Malama Solomon introduced a gaming proposal on the first day of session.
Senate Bill 3 would have the state Department of Business and Economic
Development study the whether Hawaii should join an existing multi-state lottery.
Marcus Oshiro said casinos will also be considered.
One proposal is for the state to allow a single casino in Waikiki
Our suggestion FOUR licenses, one each on the major islands, with bidding on each of them.
This is far superior to the only on Oahu plan . Help is needed on ALL islands!
And the only tourists can play ?? who is the idiot that thought that one up?
A new bill would allow slot machine gambling at international airports in Hawaii,
but only for passengers flying to other countries.
Even gambling lobbyists are skeptical about whether this proposal will be approved
by state lawmakers, but limiting gambling to out-bound international visitors means
many local residents would not be able to gamble at the airport.
The proposal calls for slot machines placed in secured areas of the airport,
open only to passengers who can show they have a plane ticket to an international location.
"Why not allow the visitor in their last few hours, spend their money in Hawaii
and and leave their money in Hawaii, why not allow them to have a slot machine and gamble,"
said State Rep. Cindy Evans, (D-North Kona, North Kohala, South Kohala).
And yes, we elected this person ....
It is time for a change .. email your senator/congressman/representative