Hawaii to let DHHL decide if casinos can help the state


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A lot of Hawaiian lawmakers may have opinions on how to start up a casino industry in the state, but the decision of how to move forward will rest with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL). The Honolulu Star Advertiser reports the DHHL will have five years to decide if casinos are a good idea.

This next step in Hawaiiโ€™s hope for a casino industry comes as proposed amendments to Senate Bill 1321 would give them the responsibility. With the measure, the DHHL has until December 21, 2026 to decide if it was casinos in the state.

The proposed reason to have casinos in Hawaii is to help DHHL fund their Home Lands beneficiariesโ€™ program. 28,000 Hawaiian natives are waiting to be allotted homes to return to on their ancestral lands.

Under the new proposed amendments, the DHHL would have to endorse casinos with โ€œa super majority.โ€ If the DHHL agrees casinos are the best idea, it would not automatically legalize casino gambling across the islands. Native land would be prohibited, said Senator Maile Shimabukuro.

The DHHLโ€™s Tyler Gomes, told the Hawaiian Affairs Committee which approved the bill: โ€œwe appreciate the affirmation of self-determination.โ€

There are other solutions to funding the department, or to simply bring gambling action to the state. SB85 would allow the DHHL to start up lotteries and bingo operations. Several proposals would start a state lottery, while SB85 would also allow DHHL to run bingo operations. In the state House of Representatives, Bill 772 proposes a Las Vegas style resort at the Hawaii Convention Center, and HB457 would allow all of that, as well as offshore gaming operations.

With Hawaii still being one of the very few states to have no legalized gambling, if lawmakers decide itโ€™s still too much for them to stomach, a little wacky tobaccy might help. SB86 would allow the DHHL to โ€œengage in the operation of medical cannabis dispensaries.โ€