Gambling in Hawaii to be Discussed at Hawaii State Association of Counties Meeting

I was at the County Council building today and I noticed on the Hawaii State Association of Counties upcoming meeting that gambling is to be discussed as a way of bringing in revenue for the State of Hawaii.

I new that this was upcoming… it was just a bit weird to actually see it in print in front of me and made me think… could gambling in Hawaii become a reality in the near future?

I saw the following posted on the window (See Item Agenda F)

See Item Agenda "F"

See Item Agenda "F"

I know that the economy is tanking and everything, but the League of Women Voters of Hawaii did a pretty extensive study on the “Facts and Issues” at the time.

Here is  the recommendations of that study done in 1997:

Margery Bronster, Hawaii’s Attorney General, provided testimony in April of 1996 which read, “It would be a severe policy error to allow the funding of state government to become partially contingent upon income from gambling. Throughout history, governments have been most responsive to those who fund them. A government which becomes heavily funded by taxing the profits of gambling organizations can be expected to become very solicitous of the desires of the gambling organizations which have become the benefactors of government.”

She went on to say that it is poor public policy to fund any government “…on the profits of gambling houses or (stated in reverse) on the losses of gamblers.”

In his book The Luck Business, Robert Goodman calls for certain measures to be taken by government. These recommendations should be considered carefully before any steps are taken to legalize gambling in Hawaii. Goodman suggests:

(1) Establish a national moratorium on the expansion of gambling ventures, including electronic gambling machines and those involving at-home interactive television or telephone betting. This will allow time for assessing the impact of what is already in place.

(2) Consider limits on the ways in which states and private business can promote and advertise gambling ventures. State governments should at least meet the truth-in-advertising standards demanded of private businesses.

(3) Reform gambling legalization processes. Not only can gambling interests afford to outspend the grass roots opposition, they are allowed to return again and again with new proposals after voters have rejected the original proposition. Governments should set limits for lobbying and promotional campaigns.

(4) Require state and local governments to commission their own thorough, independent impact studies to measure both the benefits and the costs of legalizing new gambling operations.

These concerns are reflected in the recommendations of the 1997 DBEDT report The Economic Impact Of Shipboard Gambling And Pari-Mutuel Horseracing in Hawaii. That report neither supports nor opposes legalized gambling. It does recommend that the decision not be made purely on economic or fiscal grounds, adding that, “The uncertainties in any ‘what if’ type of analysis are large in this case … larger than most. The relatively moderate expected fiscal benefits must be weighed against the uncertain but potentially large costs.”

Well my view is the economy is really tanking now and it was much different then it was back in 1997.

We seriously need to do something to increase revenue.

Is legalizing gambling in Hawaii the answer?

4 Responses

  1. Gambling doesn’t pass the pono-prism test imho. It’s not a sustainable business, not authentic, doesn’t create many jobs with sustainable wages, doesn’t add to the quality of life of local residents because most of the profits will go in the pockets of stakeholders who don’t live here. Hey, people don’t come to Hawaii to gamble, they go to Vegas for that. And in this economic downturn, Vegas is struggling like the rest of us, maybe even more. Why would we emulate their model? Why would we try to be something we’re not?

    It just doesn’t make good business sense…except to the casino owners.

  2. a state lottery system. scratchers, and a jackpot. no casinos. they’re unsightly and gaudy. not to mention a drain of electricity.

  3. Only two states in the nation that doesn’t allow any form of legalized gambling, Utah and Hawaii.

    Most gambling revenue would come from those that can least afford it.

  4. [...] I’m not sure if gambling will be our fiscal saving grace.I really don’t want Hawaii lose  its mystique by turning into another Las [...]

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