International edition
July 28, 2021

Representative Karen Awana

“We don’t expect much novelties on gambling regulation in Hawaii for 2011”

(US, exclusive interviewed Representative Karen about the possibility to legalize casinos in Hawaii -along with Utah, they are the only states that don´t allow gambling-. She has served the 44th House District since 2006 and now has introduced the measure HB1536 relating to gaming. But she’s not too optimistic


hat are the arguments for maintain gambling ban?
Hawaii along with the state of Utah does not allow gambling. In Hawaii, this issue has been the topic of much debate. There are many reasons to support and oppose gambling. There is a fear of undesired consequences placed on individuals and families. In addition, there may be burdens caused to the Health and Human Services Departments as seen in other states where gambling is allowed. Reports have found that those who can least afford to gamble will be spending their money on gambling. Lastly, existing attractions may be affected by a decline in business already dealing with economic challenges.

And which are the arguments to allow gambling?
Revenue can be generated at a time when it is desperately needed to support core government services – education, health & human services, and public safety. Jobs can be created through this new industry. Lastly, our tourism industry can be enhanced through gambling. Gambling can be an added value to the Hawaii visitor destination as seen in other locations where tourism is prevalent.

You have introduced the measure HB1536 relating to gaming, could you sum up in what this consists of?
It establishes Hawaii Gaming Control Commission and framework for casino gaming on Oahu. A portion of taxes derived from gaming would fund a fixed guide way transit for the island of Oahu.

In what phases is this measure? What are the next steps?
This measure will be held over until next year.

What could you tell us about HB394?
This bill proposes a constitutional amendment to legalize slot machine and video poker gambling for the island of Oahu. This measure is held over to next year.

What novelties we should expect about gambling’s regulation and legislation in Hawaii this year?

Not much. Perhaps more studies and passage of resolution at most.

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