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Hawaii Considers Legalization of Gambling in the State

January 30, 2020

For the longest time, it was widely accepted among gambling industry experts that the states of Utah and Hawaii would never legalize any form of gambling. With Utah being greatly influenced by the Mormon organization, it's been easy to understand why Utah will like never consider the subject. In Hawaii, the native culture was always assumed to be the barrier to legalized gambling.

In a surprise move, Senate Bills 850 and 2669 were both proposed to the Senate by Maui Sen. Gilbert Keith-Agaran and co-sponsored by Kona Sen. Dru Kanuha. Both bills represent an effort to establish a Hawaii Lottery and Gaming Corporation to oversee a legal gambling industry throughout the state. Clearly, this would be a necessary precursor to the introduction of various bills that would legalize certain forms of gambling for the state's residents.

With residents throughout the US showing growing support for sports betting and online casino gambling, it's not surprising that Senator Keith-Agaran has put forth this new legislation based on the premise that tax revenue generated by gambling activities would greatly benefit the state and its residents.

To the press, Keith-Agaran stated: “We should remember that there’s already a lot of people in the state participating in gambling. The fact that we have direct flights to Las Vegas on every island should be emblematic of that”.

He later added, “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."

There's another angle at play here. With Hawaii already serving as one of America's favorite vacation destinations, there's a good possibility that the legalization of casino gambling and sports betting would do one of two things. First, it would certainly serve as another reason for outside visitors to come to the islands for fun and relaxation. Second, it would likely cut down on the number of state residents who board planes to visit gambling meccas like Las Vegas and Atlantic City.

On the other side of the issue sits gambling opponents who are concerned about the possibility of moral corruption and the likelihood legalize gambling would result in the tourist industry losing revenue.

The arguments on both sides are compelling. For right now, the introduction of these two bills represents a possible change in the way Hawaii's residents view gambling as a viable form of adult entertainment.


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