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Hawaii Looking to Approve Online Gambling

January 28, 2017

While very liberal in its attitudes towards some aspects of life, Hawaii has always shown a reluctance to support any form of gambling as evidenced by its status as one of the very few states that doesn't permit any form of gambling within the state's boundaries. It looks like all of that is about to change rather dramatically.

In December, a bill was presented to the state Congress, which would legalize many forms of online gambling. The bill, (SB 677), was introduced by Sen. Will Espero. As part of the bill, Hawaii's residents would be permitted to wager on fantasy sports, horse racing and some forms of casino gambling. One glaring omission is sports gambling. 

While Hawaii would be following in the footsteps of Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware with this new legislation, there's still a nationwide reluctance to breech professional and college sports by allowing online sports gambling. 

The change in Hawaii's attitude towards gambling would appear to have come about for two reasons. First, recent stats indicate that perhaps a hundred thousand residents are currently gambling online with illegal offshore operations. As such, the state is unable to protect these people from fraudulent operators. 

The second reason is the most popular reason why so many states are moving towards similar legislation, the opportunity to bring in tax revenues and operational fees. While residents throughout the states continue wagering in record numbers on casino games and sports online, the amount of missed revenue continues to grow. Since it's not technically illegal for US residents to use offshore operations, it makes sense for each state to look at what is being lost in the process. As part of prompting passage of the bill, some of the tax revenues would be targeted towards education.

A key part of the new proposed legislation will be the establishment of the Hawaii Internet Lottery and Gaming Corporation. The corporation will be responsible for the enforcement of the state's online gambling laws. It is also going to be heavily involved in the development of tax policies and the establishment of hosting fees to be levied on licensed gaming providers.

 


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