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Hawaiian Lawmakers Prepare for Another Effort to Legalize Gambling and Sports Betting in the State

The beginning of the week saw Representative John Muzino announce the sports gambling bill that seeks to allow the first independent card room and sportsbook in Hawaii with a 10-year operating permit.

Hawaii is still among the few US states where gambling is not legal. For the time being, there are no gambling and casino events there but the aforementioned proposed piece of legislation seeks to change the status quo.

The state of Hawaii has seen multiple attempts seeking to authorize casino gambling or sports betting within state borders since the US Supreme Court decided to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) in 2018. For the time being, there has not been much action on the matter because local lawmakers are still considering various options for the legalization of the service.

Additional tax revenue that would be brought to state coffers is one of the main reasons why Hawaiian lawmakers are demonstrating their support for the legalization of gambling. Representative John Mizuno has been among the backers of a legal gambling market, with him previously announcing plans for the introduction of a gambling bill. In an interview for a local media hub, he explained that Hawaii has been losing billions of dollars to gambling services available in Las Vegas.

Legalization of Gambling Would Help Hawaii Tackle the Black Market’s Share, Lawmakers Say

The lawmaker noted that, for the time being, Hawaiian residents visit Las Vegas on multiple occasions annually to spend money on sports betting and gambling services. According to research cited by him, local residents take more than 500,000 visits to Las Vegas every year, with many of these people making several visits to the US gambling “capital” per year. Their expenditures there are estimated to be between $400 million and $800 million a year.

Representative Mizuno believes that the aforementioned amount of money can be used to boost the economy of Hawaii instead of being spent in other US states.

Additionally, the Hawaiian lawmaker does not believe that gambling is necessarily associated with crimes, and local residents who visit Las Vegas are not criminals for doing so. Given the circumstances, he believes that taking the proposed legalization of gambling and sports betting into consideration is important because the activity can deliver economic stimulus. He shared that the people he knew enjoyed trips to Las Vegas but they were willing to simply enjoy themselves and were not criminals for doing so.

Apart from boosting the state’s economy, the authorization of gambling and sports betting services can help the state of Hawaii tackle the share of the black gambling market. According to a report released by a local news hub earlier this week, another supporter of legal gambling services in Hawaii – Representative Daniel Holt – acknowledged that illegal gambling is still a significant problem for the state. Mr. Holt warned that gambling venues that operate illegally are also linked to drugs and prostitution – two other issues that make the problem even worse.

 Author: Harrison Young

Harrison Young is an experienced writer, who started his career almost 8 years ago. Prior to joining our team at CasinoGamesPro, he worked as an editor for a small magazine.