Hawaii casino measure undergoing scrutiny


In the western American state of Hawaii and amendments have reportedly been proposed for legislation that is seeking to grant the small Oahu city of Kapolei permission to build and run a tribal casino resort.

According to a report from the Hawaii Tribune-Herald newspaper, Hawaii State Senator Donovan Dela Cruz (pictured) suggested attaching the changes to Senate Bill 1321 some seven weeks after the Hawaiian Homes Commission approved a draft of the measure that would allow the southern Honolulu County community to play host to the small state’s inaugural casino.

Suggested shifts:

Dela Cruz’ amendments reportedly include a provision that would require any Native American group wanting run the planned casino resort to be endorsed by the state’s Democratic Governor, David Ige, after first demonstrating historical ties to the land. The newspaper detailed that the three-term representative moreover suggested that any final approval for the controversial project be ratified by the nine-member Hawaiian Homes Commission via a two-thirds vote.

Five-year focus:

Hawaii is one of only two American states alongside Utah that does not allow any form of commercial gambling while the newspaper reported that Dela Cruz’ amendments are now set to be considered at the next meeting of the Hawaii State Senate’s Committee on Ways and Means on Tuesday afternoon. A member of this influential body, Hawaii State Senator Maile Shimabukuro, purportedly declared that Senate Bill 1321 furthermore proposes giving the Hawaiian Homes Commission until the end of 2026 ‘to conduct beneficiary consultation, exercise due diligence and enter into a development agreement or issue a general lease’ for the envisioned casino site.

Detrimental deferrals:

At the other end of the Hawaii State Capitol and the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported that Hawaii State Representative Sean Quinlan has indefinitely deferred consultation on a trio of gambling-related measures including House Bill 772, which was seeking permission to bring a hotel casino to the tourist-friendly Honolulu suburb of Waikiki. The newspaper explained that House Bill 383 and House Bill 736 suffered similar fates on Wednesday so as to further defer the planned establishment of a state poker authority and the licensing of digital sportsbetting platforms.

Expected enthusiasm:

These final two measures were reportedly proposed by Hawaii State Representative Chris Todd who nevertheless subsequently proclaimed that he remains hopeful his fellow legislators will ‘be more open to some of those proposals, particularly for the sportsbetting bill.”

Todd reportedly told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald…

It’s something that people are already doing within the state but are also already doing on their phones through various apps. So, this would be an opportunity to capture revenue that is currently leaving the state. But I think we’ll circle back to it.”




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