Legalized Gambling in Hawaii
POSITION IN BRIEF
Oppose legalization of any form of gambling in Hawaii, with the exception of social gambling (gambling in which the house does not take a cut).
The League of Women Voters of Hawaii believes that legalized gambling -- with the exception of social gambling (i.e. gambling in which the house does not take a cut) -is not an acceptable method of raising revenues or of stimulating economic development. League is convinced that the economic and social interests of Hawaii residents are not served by establishing a business in which government plays an active role, bears unknown costs, and places some of its residents at high personal risk.
League recognizes that under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1998, if the State were to approve any form of gambling, it would open up Hawaii to Native American or Hawaiian sovereignty casinos. League also believes that opening Hawaii to Native American or Sovereign Hawaiian gambling ventures threatens the State's authority and the fair application of existing laws.
Following a boom period of government revenue surpluses in the seventies and
eighties, Hawaii's economy took a severe downturn, and over the years, bills legalizing various forms of gambling as a needed source of revenue appeared before the Legislature with increasing frequency. League did not participate in the public debate on this issue.
League's interest in the gambling question began in 1995 with a Hawaii County League study. Examination of gambling-enabling bills and the discussions they generated revealed a paucity of reliable information. Projections were large; estimates of costs to government were hazy or nonexistent.
The gambling issue was on the 1995 Hawaii State Convention agenda as a non-recommended item, but delegates to the convention supported Hawaii County League's initiative and voted to adopt it as a study. Hawaii County League offered to continue the study it had already begun, reviewing both current statewide and national information along with documents from the seven other state Leagues which had studied legalized gambling.
In July, 1977, Hawaii League members received the completed study and the consensus questionnaire, and the resultant consensus opposing legalized gambling was adopted by the State Board as a position in mid-October, 1997.
(Consensus, October 1997).
Facts & Issues - Should Hawaii Legalize Gambling? A study by League of Women Voters of Hawaii, June 1997