Hawaii gambling bills under serious review

State lawmakers are prepared to have perhaps their most serious discussions about whether to allow some form of legalized gambling in Hawaii in the face of monumental budget shortfalls, a struggling tourism-based economy and the overwhelming challenge of trying to get Native Hawaiians onto state Hawaiian home lands.

The opposition to change Hawaii’s historic distinction as one of only two states — along with Utah — that prohibit all forms of legalized gambling remains strong, including from Gov. David Ige, Senate President Ron Kouchi and House Speaker Scott Saiki.

But Saiki introduced HB 359 in order to debate whether to allow the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to operate a single casino resort on unidentified DHHL land west of Ko Olina, which is intended to generate millions of dollars in annual tax revenue to meet its obligation to get Hawaiians off of a wait list and onto their ancestral lands and into homes.

Hawaii gambling bills under serious review

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