Hawaii Introduced Surprising Sports Betting Bill

Lawmakers in Hawaii have surprised everyone by introducing a sports betting bill named House Bill 1107…

…which is quite unexpected since in Hawaii there is not a single form of gambling allowed.

The government, on the other hand, doesn’t want to allow private operators to enter their market, but would rather like to establish its own entity.

No Gambling Allowed

Just like in Utah, in this Central Pacific US State, nothing is legal, even the lottery and bingo are strictly forbidden…

…which is quite odd having in mind that tourism is Hawaii’s main resource and that gambling is allowed in the US.

The only option for tourists and locals to gamble are to board one of the two cruise ships that depart from Honolulu and allow gambling when they reach international waters.

Finding a Solution

But, on the other hand, it is an open secret that tens of thousands of Hawaii residents bet illegally via offshore sites.

“The legislature finds that tens of thousands of Hawaii residents are estimated to participate in illegal online sports gambling on unregulated internet websites. These gambling websites are operated by illegal offshore operators not subject to regulation or taxation in the United States,“ the bill reads.

Since the 2018 lift of the sports betting ban in the US, reports have shown that the states who have officially legalized sports betting…

…have gained over $1 billion from sports betting in just a few months.

That is why some of the government representatives are up for sports betting legalization because they believe that the state loses tens of millions of dollars in revenue thanks to offshore online betting.

“Questions often arise about the honesty and the fairness of the games offered to Hawaii residents, but neither federal nor Hawaii laws currently provide any consumer protections for Hawaii residents who play on these websites. Moreover, tens of millions of dollars in revenues generated from online gambling are being realized by offshore operators serving Hawaii residents, but no benefits are provided to the State,” House Bill 1107 further reads.

The Best Option for Everyone

Hawaii lawmakers don’t want to allow private sports betting operators in their market but would like to establish a state-owned entity…

…that would be named the Hawaii Sports Wagering Corporation. The corporation would be in charge of giving out sports betting permits and generating additional revenue for the state.

“To protect Hawaii residents who gamble on the Internet, and to capture revenues generated from internet sports wagering in Hawaii, it is in the best interest of the State and its citizens to regulate this existing activity by authorizing and implementing a secure, responsible, and legal system for sports wagering.

“The State’s interests are best met by doing so through a sports wagering corporation, which shall be a public instrumentality, operating for the sole benefit of the State, and accountable to the legislature and to the public through a system of audits and reports,” according to the bill, which has gone through its first reading, but has yet to be assigned for further analysis.

State’s Entity

The plan is to set up a board of seven directors that would be in charge of the Hawaii Sports Betting corporation. The board would be in charge of developing sports betting regulations when the bill passes into law and select a sports betting provider. The entity will be exempt from tax…

…and all proceeds would go straight to the Sports Wagering Special Fund. The funds acquired through sports betting would be used for Hawaii’s infrastructure and maintenance projects.

Source:

“Hawaii lawmakers aim to establish state wagering operator”, igamingbusiness.com, January 25, 2019.

“House Bill Number 1107, State of Hawaii”, capitol.hawaii.gov

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