Regulated Online Gambling Coming to Hawaii?
Online gambling in the USA has been banned on the federal level for some years now. That hasn’t stopped the individual states for passing or trying to pass their own bills, regulating gambling activities. So far, only New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware have passed the bills, with a few others, like Pennsylvania and New York, being seemingly close.
The latest US state to join the battle for regulated online gambling is Hawaii. Senator Will Espero introduced a bill known as SB 677, aimed at regulating online gambling activities in Hawaii. While this does come as a bit of a surprise, it wouldn’t be all that shocking for Hawaii to become the next US state to regulate this burning issue.
SB 677 Provisions
The bill by Senator Espero concerns online poker, online casinos, and lottery. There is no mention of sports betting at all. So, even if the bill is passed, betting on sports still won’t be a possibility for the residents and visitors of the island state.
If the bill passes, the Hawaii Internet Lottery and Gaming Corporation will be established. This body will monitor all online gaming activities and ensure all players are treated fairly. It will also ensure the operators conduct their business in accordance with laws and regulations.
One of the provisions leaves the option of interstate agreements, so Hawaii could potentially join forces with other regulated states, merging player pools and creating bigger and better opportunities for everyone involved.
Customer Protection No. 1 Concern
According to Senator Espero and others supporting the bill, the main reason behind the proposal is the desire to protect the players. The Senator explains that currently, many Hawaii residents play on unregulated, offshore sites, which exposes them to many risks. In the current climate, Hawaiians have no recourse in the event of a fraud. Of course, there are also monetary considerations, as all the money currently going to these offshore sites could instead remain in Hawaii.
Those interested in operating a legal site catering to Hawaiian players will have to first get a proper license and then pay appropriate taxes. Money gathered through these channels will be used to fund education and other similar activities.
Like most states in the US, Hawaiian lawmakers have ample incentives to give this bill a green light. However, like everywhere else, there is also strong opposition to the idea, and attempts at passing an online gambling bill in the island state failed in the past.
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