Hawaii Sports betting could be on the table to help the state nearly stall revenue with its lifeblood tourism economy.
With the COVID-19 Pandemic is keeping many tourists at home, the state is facing a planned one $ 1.4 billion Budget deficit for each of the next four years.
There are currently no forms of legal gambling offered in Hawaii.
Hawaii Sports Betting Bills
SB 595 proposes the creation of a sports games task force. The task force would make recommendations and legislative proposals during regular meetings 2022 and 2023.
HB 736 changes the state’s definition of games of chance to exclude “digital” sports betting and treat it separately. The bill would create a pilot program through the state’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism to license Hawaii mobile sports betting. Results, recommendations and legislative proposals would be due during the 2022 meeting.
HB 850 would legalize and regulate daily fantasy sports in Hawaii and exempt them from current state gambling laws.
There could be several other bills involved
Two similar bills in Hawaii senate and House of Representatives suggest a casino resort owned by the Hawaiian Home Countries Department.
Funds from the casino would help a waiting list of about 28,000 Native Hawaiians are moving back to their ancestral lands.
Other bills in the chambers suggest a state lottery and a single casino resort in the Hawaii Convention Center. A bill is proposing a task force to investigate the potential of offshore games, a lottery, and two casinos.
Sports betting largely not included
Bills suggesting a lottery, such as HB 363 and SB 561, largely prohibit the company from offering sports betting.
The lottery could “offer games of chance and skill, including lottery, poker and casino games”.
These accompanying bills recommend revenue from the lottery head for capital improvements in public schools and the University of Hawaii System including scholarships and educational loan repayments for medical students practicing in Hawaii.
Additional funding would help protect water catchment areas and reduce and prevent gambling problems.
Hawaiian gambling prospects
Unless Governor David Ige changes his mind about casinos, sports betting in retail is unlikely. If the Hawaiian Sports Betting Act is ever passed, it will likely be a mobile-only model.
Hawaii has one of the smallest populations in the United States, so the sales outlook probably isn’t great. With approximately 1.4 Million Residents, it’s about as big as New Hampshire.
New Hampshire generated $ 23.6 million Sports betting revenue in 2020.