Hawaiian gambling Bill approved

Casino gambling in the fiftieth state moves closer

Hawaiian Senator Jon Riki Karamatsu's House Bill 2759 proposal that the state allows casinos to licence on Hawaiian Home Lands has continued its swift political progress by securing the approval of the House Judiciary Committee.

The Honalulu Advertiser reports that a related bill - HB2251 - which is designed to set up a gaming commission, also passed the second of three votes.

Rep. Karamatsu said the state's economic budget woes warrant a closer look at gambling proposals, and that well regulated and taxed gambling was a viable alternative to raising taxes.

The casino bill advanced out of the Judiciary Committee despite continued opposition from Hawaiian Homes Commission chairman Kaulana Park and a host of others, including Honolulu Prosecutor Peter Carlisle.

House Hawaiian Affairs chairwoman Mele Carroll, the bill's lead author, said the bill would help DHHL maintain a steady source of income, noting that an annual $30 million distribution for the state's use of Hawaiian Home Lands is expected to end in 2014.

Under the proposal, DHHL would receive 80 percent of the proceeds from the casino while the state general fund would get the remaining 20 percent share.

The Honalulu Advertiser notes that several gambling bills remain alive in the Hawaiian Senate, including ones that would legalise slots and video games, a type of lottery, and a state-sponsored "scratch" card game. None of those bills have received any committee hearings or are scheduled to be heard, making it unlikely they will make it out of the Senate.

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