Bill That Will Bring Casinos To Hawaii Opposed In Committee – The proposal to build a casino in Hawaii was met with great resistance because it failed to get out of the committee.
According to a report from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, HB 359 was suspended by Rep. Sean Quinlan, chairman of the House Economic Development Committee. The bill passed the Hawaii Home Commission in late 2020 and plans to build a casino resort in Kapolei, a city west of Honolulu on the island of Oahu.
The idea behind the proposal was that the casinos in Kapolei would generate $30 million in annual tax revenue, which would be used to build homes for nearly 29,000 Native Hawaiians.
Historically, the Hawaiian legislature was strongly opposed to bringing gambling to the island chain. There is testimony from law enforcement and from the Hawaii Home Lands Department against the creation of a Las Vegas-style casino on Oahu.
Days before Quinlan essentially killed off the bill, a report compiled by a state agency stated that bringing casinos to Hawaii would increase the likelihood of sex trafficking. The report is titled ‘Gambling With Women’s Safety: A Feminist Assessment of a Proposed Resort Casino.’
The state House of Representatives requested a study of the effects of gambling before they went ahead with the vote. The nine-page report also says that casinos will increase domestic violence and says men who gamble are more likely to pay for sex. It is said that Native Hawaiian women are particularly at risk of becoming bonus138 victims of human trafficking networks.
The companion bill, SB 1321, is still circulating through the Senate, but the chances of it being passed after the latest developments look bleak.