Chair Hee and members of the Senate Judiciary, my name is Grace Furukawa and I am speaking for the League of Women Voters liaison to the Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling in FAVOR of HB 1836,HD1 The League did a study on gambling when our Hawaii Chapter became concerned about a casino being under consideration in a new hotel many years ago. Following the study the League opposed legalized gambling in all its forms and joined the Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling which included organizations and individuals representing the extreme political right to those of the extreme political left. All believe legalizing gambling would be a disaster for the Aloha state.
During the following years we have succeeded in keeping this menace out of Hawaii even while the proponents sought every way to sneak it into Hawaii. This bill calls attention to vending machines that were brought into bars and seemed innocent, pertaining to phone calls. However, on closer examination, these phone cards or "pull tabs" were of greater value as an entry to a sweepstakes game. The game apparently sneaks under the wire of what is defined as gambling. This bill is intended to clarify "gambling" to include this "game". The reasons why and how are explained in the body of the bill and don't need repeating. We are concerned that this game will expand from the bars into restaurants, and/or be used to promote other forms of gambling, similar to it, because we did not act to recognize this as "gambling". In other words, if this sweepstakes game is Ok and not gambling, then our games should be OK. Our Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling has visited every legislator with a small packet explaining our opposition to all forms of legalized gambling and I support of this bill..
Thank you for hearing this testimony and seriously considering voting in favor of this bill. We hope you will pass it as is, to avoid any necessity of being heard in the Conference Committee.