January 10, 2023 3 min read


Hawaii Lawmakers Once Again Push for Gambling Legalization

Hawaii is among the few US states where gambling is illegal. There's no casino or gambling events taking place there but a new bill seeks to change this reality

Since the repeal of PASPA in 2018, there were multiple attempts to push sports betting or casino gambling in Hawaii. Yet, lawmakers are still reviewing options to legalize the activity.

Legalization of Gambling Can Boost Hawaii’s Economy

One of the reasons why lawmakers are voicing their support for gambling is tax revenue. Rep. John Mizuno is among the supporters of gambling legalization as he announced plans to introduce a gambling bill. In an interview for KHon2, the lawmaker explained that there are billions of dollars lost to gaming in Las Vegas.

Mizuno pointed out that residents from Hawaii visit Las Vegas multiple times every year and spend money on gambling and sports wagering. He argued asking why is gambling legal in 48 states if it automatically associates with crime.

Hawaii residents take over 500,000 visits a year to Las Vegas, with many visiting two or three times per year; they are spending and gambling $400 to $800 million a year in Nevada.

Rep. John Mizuno

Citing research, Mizuno said that there are half a million visits to Las Vegas from Hawaii residents and some people visit the location several times every year. At the same time, he pointed out that those people are spending between $400 and $800 million gambling in Nevada. That money, Mizuno said can be used to boost the local economy.

Additionally, Mizuno said that Hawaiian residents that visit Las Vegas aren’t criminals. Given the circumstances, he said that it is important to discuss the legalization of gambling as the activity can deliver economic stimulus.

If crime is associated with gambling, why is gaming legal in 48 states and why are so many Hawai’i residents going to Las Vegas, with many taking multiple trips? The people I know who enjoy trips to Las Vegas are mostly kūpuna, not criminals. I feel it is important to discuss options to keep local money in the local economy,

added Mizuno

Illegal Gambling Is an Issue in Hawaii

Besides boosting the local economy, the legalization of gambling in Hawaii can help decrease the share of the black market. A report released by HawaiiNewsNow earlier this week revealed that Rep. Daniel Holt, another supporter of gambling legalization, acknowledged that illegal gambling represents a significant issue. Holt warned that illegal gambling locations are connected to prostitution, as well as drugs, which only exacerbates the issue.

Without any doubt, boosting the local economy and reducing the share of the black market reaffirms the benefits of legal gambling. Still, both Holt and Mizuno support the money collected from regulated gambling to be allocated toward gambling addiction treatment programs and a further crackdown on illegal gambling activities in the state.


Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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