Bingo Could Help Save Hawaii’s Economy

By Ben Hamill - February 19 2021
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Bingo Could Help Save Hawaii’s Economy

Bingo and Lottery games may be just what the doctor ordered for saving Native Hawaiians from the troubling state of their economy. Local lawmakers are actually considering the idea of legalising Bingo halls and Lottery games on the island, albeit on a much smaller and more conservatively sized scale than an actual full-blown casino.

The chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Hawaiian Affairs during a recent commentary on Hawaii’s troubling economic issues, said that the difference between a casino and a Bingo and/or Lottery hall, is that the latter can be started right off the bat – with nearly no new or formal infrastructure needed in the case of Bingo. A definite positive is that there already exist specified areas on Hawaiian Homelands where Bingo facilities can be rolled out with immediate effect.

These include community centres, churches, and local town halls – all traditionally places where Bingo games are hosted and staged.

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A Call For Openness

The Senate Committee has furthermore proposed certain changes to casino legislation currently being pushed by the Department of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL).

The committee has confirmed calling for the Hawaiian Homes Commission, in the event that it does decide to legalise and allow real-money gambling, to consider having different options – for example horse racing, Bingo, Lottery games, casino gaming, etc. Its stance seems to be a case of more being better.

Opponents have been largely worried about the possibility of an increased rate of crime, and so the idea is now to create an openness to gambling among more lawmakers than what has been the case up until now. Leaders in both the Senate and the House have repeatedly in the past said that they aren’t feeling positive about the notion of legalising gambling in the region. Crime does however appear to be the main concern.

Locals Need Homes - Desperately

A drastic solution is required if Hawaiian natives are to be homed, said Kamuela Werner in response to the pushing of Bill SB 1321. Werner called on lawmakers to pass the bill in the absence of a more appropriate solution.

Bill SB 1321 furthermore calls for a supermajority vote in order to be successfully passed into the legislature. What this means is that six of the nine members of the commission will have to vote in its favour in order for it to be enforced.

New ideas are needed, chairwoman Maile Shimabukuro has said. And Bingo might be a positive direction when thinking of new solutions for the region’s failing economy.

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