My name is Grace Furukawa, from the League of Women Voters of
Hawaii and I am testifying AGAINST this bill. The League has opposed all
forms of gambling since its own study on this subject was completed in
1998. A casino in Waikiki or elsewhere is opening Hawaii to the scourge
of gambling throughout the state. Setting up a commission to oversee the
gambling will not necessarily save us from crime and corruption that will
come in its wake, as our Mayor and Police Department will testify. The
examples from other states have shown this to be true.
This casino, free standing, will have bars and restaurants along with card
games and slot machines and other forms of gambling. This alone will
take the discretionary money of tourists and citizens from those
businesses outside and send most of the profits to the mainland owners.
Slot machines alone are the “crack cocaine” of gambling and promises
to cause the loss of one job from small business a year. The tourist
money we count on for taxes etc. will be lost from any business in the
community. Casinos are built with an easy entry but difficult to get out
of. They want to keep people in them as long as possible. In Waikiki
alone there will be congestion and parking problems. The ambiance of
Hawaii as a place of beauty, sports and a place for families will be lost.
In opposing this bill I appeal to all legislators to not bring into Hawaii
something that is so difficult to get rid of and which will change the affect
of Hawaii forever. Legislators should heed the advice of the National
Gambling Impact Study Commission and the DBEDT Economic Impact
Study, both of which advise against the expansion of gambling. Mahalo
for hearing this testimony.
SAY “NO” TO CASINO
The Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling opposes the establishment of a casino for the following reasons:
• The gaming industry provides statistics on revenue and job creation which ought to be viewed
skeptically since the industry has so much to gain.
• Legislators focus on revenue, not on costs. Many costs are not easily measured, but increasingly,
studies from academics and other non-vested sources are available. They are seldom sought.
• Because there is no legal gambling in Hawaii, people do not see its destructive social effects and
tend to dismiss them.
• Many dollars of revenue would flow out-of-state to owners, managers, consultants, service and
• Casinos damage and displace existing businesses.
• A casino will attract workers from gambling venues in other states. These workers are most
often unskilled workers with low income. Hawaii does not need more people in that
• Construction dollar inflow is short-term; costs to the state continue over the long term.
• Establishing 100% secure and effective regulation and oversight is expensive and extremely
difficult. Poor regulation is costly and may tarnish Hawaii’s reputation.
• A casino will not keep Hawaii at home. Attracted by its glitter and excitement, Hawaii residents
will continue traveling to Las Vegas and gambling there. Hawaii cannot duplicate the unique
aura of Las Vegas.
• A casino will not attract substantial numbers of new visitors, nor will existing visitors increase
their travel budgets significantly to include casino play.
• The “amenity” of offering visitors and residents another form of entertainment does not offset
the dangers of changing Hawaii’s image and fostering risk for addictive behavior.
• Government decisions should not be driven only by fiscal concerns. Long-considered decisions
with major social impacts should not be made in a period of economic hardship.
• Government should not condone and encourage activities harmful to its people. Citizens expect
their government to protect their well-being, both psychological and financial.
• Hawaii is a special situation, unique as to location, culture and appeal. The legislature has long resisted the lure of increased revenue at the expense of growing social problems. By opening the state to even one casino operation, the legislature opens the state to multiple gaming operations. Experience has shown that on the Mainland, expansion becomes the order of the day once one type of gambling is legal.
• Legislators should heed the advice of the National Gambling Impact Study dommission and the DBEDT Economic Impacts Study, both of which advise against the expansion of gambling.
Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling
1124 Fort Street Mall, Suite 209
Honolulu, HI 96813
Phone/fax 524-7766 Email firstname.lastname@example.org website www.hcalg.org