Hawaii Cracks Down on Illegal Gambling Dens

Hawaii Cracks Down on Illegal Gambling DensUtah and Hawaii are the only two US states in which any form of gambling is strictly forbidden, with the latter currently in the middle of an anti-gambling clampdown which has seen 35 people arrested on gambling-related charges over the past few months. Leaving those flaunting the island paradise’s strict gaming laws in no doubt as to what they might expect, Major Larry Lawson from the Honolulu Police Department’s criminal investigation division, stated last week:
“Game rooms affect people of all ages and social economic levels. We sometimes hear people say that gambling is harmless form of entertainment, however we know that game rooms are often the hubs of illegal activity such as drug dealing, robberies, assaults and homicides have been associated with game rooms.”
Major Larry Lawson further warned that his department knew of another 100 different venues where illegal gambling is taking place, which will soon be targeted by police. According to authorities, the situation has become increasingly more untenable following a spate of violent crimes, including incidents involving armed robbery, knifings, and shootings, around these locales in recent times.
In the meantime, not everyone is happy with Hawaii’s restrictive anti-gambling stance, with State Sen Will Espero currently championing efforts to introduce an online lottery to the island, as well as legalize online casino and poker sites. As a result, Espero has already introduced a 28-page bill called SB 677 to the legislature, which seeks to establish the Hawaii Internet Lottery and Gaming Corporation.
Promoting his cause, Espero highlights the fact that Hawaiians playing on offshore sites have no consumer protections and so are vulnerable to unscrupulous sites, while the tens of millions of dollars that are wagered on illegal sites each year represent a missed opportunity for the State.
Unfortunately, Espero’s efforts seem to have hit a road block, similar to other pieces of gambling legislation introduced in the past, with SB 677 having failed to make it past the Senate Government Operations Committee. Likewise, in 2011 another bill received approval in The House before eventually dying in the Senate chamber.

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