Hawaii makes another attempt at legalizing gambling
Hawaii has become the latest state in the United States to make an early start on an ambitious plan – the legalization of sports betting and poker across its territory. A new bill, backed by representatives John Mizuno and Daniel Holt, now wants to see parts of Kalihi transformed into a new hub and engine of regulated gambling.
The choice of venue is not random either, as both lawmakers have studied the issue and believe that the location already breeds an unhealthy level of black market gambling. This is revenue that the state is already missing on, Holt and Mizuno chime in, cited by local media outlet Hawaii News Now.
Holt insists that the state is facing a small epidemic in Kalihi as things are, with the place turning into not just a hub for illegal gambling, but also other prohibited activities, such as drugs and prostitution.
Not all is lost, though, estimates the representative, as giving people a place to legally participate in gambling would quickly amend the situation, and undoubtedly going to result in a small economic boon.
Both Mizuno and Holt expect companies to establish gambling operations in the state and not just take their profits back to other states on the mainland. He also pitched relevant experts who will be able to advise and guide the state policy, one of whom is a bit of an oddball choice.
Eric Ford is touted as Mizuno’s gambling specialist, who was sentenced to 20 months in federal prison back in 2013 for running an illegal gambling operation in Kona. Ford is already looking out for people who may be interested to run gambling operations but who have butted heads with the law.
According to him, convicted gamblers can run parlors. He draws the line at tax evaders or people from the mainland, though. Understandably, not everyone is keen to see ex-convicts get their hands on gambling ownership or businesses.
According to former Honolulu police Deputy Chief John McCarthy, the people running such businesses should be held to the highest possible standards as many of these would-be new venues would have to show a strong level of self-governance and ethics.
For now, Holt and Mizuno bill is a great start of the year for gambling enthusiasts in the Aloha State, but as the legislative session unfolds, fresh challenges will shape. It’s those that the representatives need to focus on tiding their legal pitch over.