Hawaii State Law prohibits gambling of any kind, along with only one other state, Utah. No Indian Reservations here either, so on paper Hawaii has a squeaky clean gambling reputation. Of course, just about everyone has a neighbor with a few violent chickens ready to be egged into gladiator battles. So would the public have a problem with the legitimization of an already wide-spread phenomena, minus the animal cruelty factor, by opening casinos? Pacific Business News Article HERE
This is obviously a desperate stab the government is making to siphon as much money as possible into Hawaii’s economy. The softening of right-wingers towards the idea of gay marriage also smells of desperation…the gay marriage market is one we may be able to tap into. (But, hey, if desperation is what it takes to get anything moving around here, then lets welcome in desperation with open arms.)
At least the bill acknowledges in its opening that the idea is being proposed out of economic necessity. It was introduced on January 21st, and has so far passed through JUD and CPC comitees with a large majority in favor of passing the bill with amendments, although there is some opposition.
For the moment, the bill would regulate gambling in the following ways: (Read the preliminary bill here… it’s only 7 pages, in big font, so don’t be intimidated.)
- Establish gaming commission
- Give gaming commission authority to allow one casino to open within the next 5 years.
- That casino must be in a county with a population of over 500,000
- To play at the casino: Be over 21, and a non-resident and/or have a round trip ticket leaving Hawaii.
- Claims taxes from gambling would be used to fund the development of health, education, and Hawaiian homelands.
Do the ends justify the means? It sounds like Karamatsu, the creator of the bill, fully understands the harmful, potentially life-ruining impact that gambling has on people’s lives, and therefore is willing to facilitate tourists losing their money to the Hawaiian economy, as long as we do not participate. Also, this seperates us further from the continental U.S., clearly sending the message that the Hawaiian State Government cares about our own economy, but does not care if Californians return to L.A. with gambling debts…as long as they get back on that plane A.S.A.P.
One final comment: If this bill passes, isn’t it only a matter of time before local residents also gain the right to gamble? And some bigshot from the east coast…or another country (which when compared to Hawaii…NY, Boston, or Dallas might as well be) builds a mind-blowing casino, and before you know it, all that money is being siphoned right back out of Hawaii?
By: Sierra Brown