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Hawaii is the latest state to take first steps of starting a lottery

Feb 12, 2021, 12:11 pm

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Lottery bill is passed by Senate education committee

By Kate Northrop

A bill that advocates for the creation of a state lottery was approved by the Hawaii Senate Education Committee on Wednesday, which means that the state is one step closer to potentially operating its own lottery.

Following Alabama, Hawaii is the latest state to push a lottery bill to the Senate Judiciary to further the discussion of starting a lottery that could generate additional revenue for the state.

The bill details a plan to implement a lottery and maintains a focus on funding public education. More specifically, 40% of all revenue generated will equally fund public school operations, university facilities and operations, and the general state fund. At least 45% of all revenue would be paid out in prizes, while the remaining 15% would be used to operate the lottery.

The proposal also originally indicated a launch date of Jan. 1, 2022, but Senate Education Committee Chairwoman Michelle Kidani amended the bill and pushed the date a year back to Jan. 1, 2023 so that there would be more time for a task force and a would-be lottery commission to strategize and plan for the venture.

"We are looking at this very carefully," Kidani reassured. "We don't want this to be a fly-by-night operation. It will be vetted, it'll have a five-member commission, the director will be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate. And, of course, like anything else, if it's not going to pan out, then we have to look at it again."

However, Hawaiians in favor of a lottery might not want to get their hopes up too soon. It is unclear whether a lottery would actually see the light of day given the opposition to gambling in the state. Next to Utah, Hawaii is the only other state to ban all legalized forms of commercial gaming that operate on a "house." In other words, "social" gambling is allowed as long as there is no overarching entity that is profiting from the games.

Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm was among those who strongly opposed the implementation of a state lottery and stated that lotteries risk "fuel[ing] excessive gambling problems" while simultaneously profiting mostly "from people of lower educations and lower socioeconomic standing."

"Despite the substantial hardship of steering Hawaii's economic recovery in the coming years, from the first global pandemic seen in over 100 years, the Department strongly urges the Legislature not to give in to temptation to introduce deleterious — albeit lucrative — industries such as legalized gambling into Hawaii's communities," Alm wrote in testimony.

Tom Yamachika, President of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii, also argued against the bill and echoed Alm's statements.

"There are studies where researchers have concluded that lotteries have a reverse 'Robin Hood' effect, namely they take from the poor and give to the rich," Yamachika stated. "And this is because for a lot of people who are poor, they don't see the way to get out of their situation except by winning the lottery."

Others argue that the extra funds generated by the lottery are all-too necessary, especially since Governor David Ige proposed budget cuts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic for the Department of Education of $270 million over the next two years. Included in the cuts are potential "labor savings," which could translate to teacher furloughs.

"Our public schools cannot sustain these dramatic cuts, while simultaneously ensuring the delivery of [a] quality K-12 public education system," Superintendent of Schools Christina Kishimoto stated. She emphasized the need for additional methods of education funding in light of the potential budget cuts but was neutral toward the bill.

Funds are desperately needed in other areas as well. The Chief Financial Officer of the University of Hawaii, Kalbert Young, cited a backlog for maintenance projects that exceed $500 million. He also expressed neutrality toward the bill.

Senator Kidani hopes that the time is right for Hawaii to adopt a state lottery and that the public will support the idea.

"But again, we don't know if we don't try," she added. "I'm thinking, as we talk about gambling bills before, that, maybe this will not be something that is as heavy as a casino but will have some substance to it being just a lottery."

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6 comments. Last comment 13 days ago by lejardin.
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Avatar
Chasing $ Millions.
White Shores- California
United States
Member #136473
December 12, 2012
6525 Posts
Offline

If they get a State lottery going, it won't be long before they part of the Musl. Another island running with the big boys. Put another lei around the neck for luck!

 * Voice of Reason *   

 

People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

    Avatar
    Simpsonville
    United States
    Member #163184
    January 22, 2015
    2438 Posts
    Offline

    Well it's not like they can drive to another state to play!!

    Sick and tired of a few dictating what folks can and cannot do, especially when it comes to gambling.   Heck make Hawaii a non smoking, non drinking string of islands.   Once again, let the voters decide.

    Imagine them joining MUSL and an afternoon cut-off for the big boy lotteries.

      Coin Toss's avatar - shape barbed.jpg
      100
      Zeta Reticuli Star System
      United States
      Member #30469
      January 17, 2006
      11537 Posts
      Offline

      I'll be very surprised if Hawaii gets casinos or a lottery, it's not like there's no gambling going on there and those running it are very happy with things as they are,

      Those who run the lotteries love it when players look for consistency in something that's designed not to have any. So many systems, so many theories, so few jackpot winners. 

      Lep

      There is one and only one 'proven' system, and that is to book the action. No matter the game, let the players pick their own losers.

        JoeBigLotto's avatar - Lottery-049.jpg
        melbourne , florida
        United States
        Member #121136
        January 3, 2012
        249 Posts
        Offline

        Finally I won't miss my Powerball or mega millions because am on vacation lol 😀☺️🦋🤠😀🙏

          Avatar
          Kentucky
          United States
          Member #32651
          February 14, 2006
          9094 Posts
          Offline

          Lottery bill is passed by Senate education committee

          By Kate Northrop

          A bill that advocates for the creation of a state lottery was approved by the Hawaii Senate Education Committee on Wednesday, which means that the state is one step closer to potentially operating its own lottery.

          Following Alabama, Hawaii is the latest state to push a lottery bill to the Senate Judiciary to further the discussion of starting a lottery that could generate additional revenue for the state.

          The bill details a plan to implement a lottery and maintains a focus on funding public education. More specifically, 40% of all revenue generated will equally fund public school operations, university facilities and operations, and the general state fund. At least 45% of all revenue would be paid out in prizes, while the remaining 15% would be used to operate the lottery.

          The proposal also originally indicated a launch date of Jan. 1, 2022, but Senate Education Committee Chairwoman Michelle Kidani amended the bill and pushed the date a year back to Jan. 1, 2023 so that there would be more time for a task force and a would-be lottery commission to strategize and plan for the venture.

          "We are looking at this very carefully," Kidani reassured. "We don't want this to be a fly-by-night operation. It will be vetted, it'll have a five-member commission, the director will be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate. And, of course, like anything else, if it's not going to pan out, then we have to look at it again."

          However, Hawaiians in favor of a lottery might not want to get their hopes up too soon. It is unclear whether a lottery would actually see the light of day given the opposition to gambling in the state. Next to Utah, Hawaii is the only other state to ban all legalized forms of commercial gaming that operate on a "house." In other words, "social" gambling is allowed as long as there is no overarching entity that is profiting from the games.

          Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm was among those who strongly opposed the implementation of a state lottery and stated that lotteries risk "fuel[ing] excessive gambling problems" while simultaneously profiting mostly "from people of lower educations and lower socioeconomic standing."

          "Despite the substantial hardship of steering Hawaii's economic recovery in the coming years, from the first global pandemic seen in over 100 years, the Department strongly urges the Legislature not to give in to temptation to introduce deleterious — albeit lucrative — industries such as legalized gambling into Hawaii's communities," Alm wrote in testimony.

          Tom Yamachika, President of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii, also argued against the bill and echoed Alm's statements.

          "There are studies where researchers have concluded that lotteries have a reverse 'Robin Hood' effect, namely they take from the poor and give to the rich," Yamachika stated. "And this is because for a lot of people who are poor, they don't see the way to get out of their situation except by winning the lottery."

          Others argue that the extra funds generated by the lottery are all-too necessary, especially since Governor David Ige proposed budget cuts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic for the Department of Education of $270 million over the next two years. Included in the cuts are potential "labor savings," which could translate to teacher furloughs.

          "Our public schools cannot sustain these dramatic cuts, while simultaneously ensuring the delivery of [a] quality K-12 public education system," Superintendent of Schools Christina Kishimoto stated. She emphasized the need for additional methods of education funding in light of the potential budget cuts but was neutral toward the bill.

          Funds are desperately needed in other areas as well. The Chief Financial Officer of the University of Hawaii, Kalbert Young, cited a backlog for maintenance projects that exceed $500 million. He also expressed neutrality toward the bill.

          Senator Kidani hopes that the time is right for Hawaii to adopt a state lottery and that the public will support the idea.

          "But again, we don't know if we don't try," she added. "I'm thinking, as we talk about gambling bills before, that, maybe this will not be something that is as heavy as a casino but will have some substance to it being just a lottery."

          The five Hawaii Counties are spread out over several islands and hopefully each will have a terminal and a place to cash winning tickets over $6. Using Internet sales help that. The distance between the islands isn't the problem, but it's not the same as getting in our cars and driving if the nearest store if one is not on your island.

          Because of the distance between cities, if Alaska ever purposes a state lottery, Online wagering will be a must.

          It's not my fault! I voted for Amy.

            lejardin's avatar - Lottery-014.jpg

            United States
            Member #118605
            November 4, 2011
            1437 Posts
            Offline

            I'll be very surprised if Hawaii gets casinos or a lottery, it's not like there's no gambling going on there and those running it are very happy with things as they are,

            Agree Coin Toss.  I dont think they will ever get a lottery, they dont like competition.....Green laugh