Hawaii Bill on Online Gaming

Hawai Bill on Online GamingAs a result of the United States Department of Justice’s release of an opinion on the 1961 Wire Act which opened the way for online gaming and lotteries not involving sporting events, the Hawaii authorities have tabled a bill to regulate online gambling. The bill would set up a Hawaiian lottery and allow online gambling.If passed House Bill 2422 would set up the Hawaii Internet Lottery and Gaming Corporation. The Hawaii Internet Lottery and Gaming Corporation would be permitted to offer online games of chance and games of skill to include casino games such as roulette, blackjack, baccarat and also poker and lotteries. These games would be available to players of over 18 years of age.Online gaming in Hawaii would be intrastate and players would need to provide proof of identity and be actually present in the state when engaged in online gambling. This rule will hold until federal law allows interstate online gaming. Only authorised and regulated online gaming sites may be used in Hawaii. House Bill 2422 would allow real money gaming within the state along with free to play online gaming.

Hawaii does not have any casinos or lotteries at the moment. Only two other states have no casinos, Tennessee and Vermont. This could all change for Hawaii if the bill passes the committees and is signed into law by the governor N. Abercrombie. Another bill HB 2316 which was also introduced to the Hawaiian legislature would permit the setting up of a lottery but it does not provide for online gambling. A bill referring to online poker was introduced in April 2011 and after passing reading by several committees it was been held up by a legal deadline.

Hawaii is one of several states including Nevada, Connecticut, The District of Columbia among others to reconsider its online gaming legislation in the light of the Department of Justice’s change of policy on internet gambling. Some states see the growth of the industry as a means of increasing revenue to help manage state budgets and also as a way to possibly attract gaming tourists to their state with events linked to online gaming. On the tourism front Hawaii is in a leading position but it remains to be seen whether it will also be an online gaming leader.

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