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Hawaii Poker News
Posted 21 Mar 2012 by Bbickes
The bill that could have brought online poker to the state of Hawaii has been shelved for the time being. The bill named HB2422 failed to even make it to the legislative floor of Hawaii's state government. This adds Hawaii to the states of Iowa, Mississippi as well as the District of Columbia who's poker bills have stalled or failed to get off the ground entirely. Needless to say this is troubling news for those who are desperately waiting to see some form of online poker legalized in the
The recent shutdown of major American online poker rooms PokerStars and FullTilt has left the average internet player with very few options. While no one is certain what the future holds a lot are looking towards intrastate poker legislation as an answer to legalizing the game online. There have already been a few states who have tried to pass such legislation but up to this point most have found more failure than success. However, these states clearly are in favor of the tax revenues that online sites could provide and are willing to let their residents enjoy the game from the comforts of their own homes. One such state is the last state to join the union, Hawaii. It appears the chances of Hawaii Online Poker would be quite high if intrastate legislation is in the cards.
In early 2011 there was legislation presented in hopes of legalizing both live and online poker in the state of Hawaii. The hope was to define poker as a game of skill which would then make it exempt from typical Hawaiian gambling laws. The bill made it past the Judiciary Committee in March 2011 but was unable to gain a House Finance Committee hearing. There was supposedly not enough public support for the bill to continue any further, rendering it dead for the time being. Proponents of the bill were pushing its tax benefits to the state but it seems the public never truly got on board. Without players and other residents consistently pressuring their local politicians there was just not enough interest to push the bill through.
There is currently one way to play poker legally in Hawaii. As long as no one is profiting from operating the game there can be what is called “social gambling” amongst friends and families. This typically refers to a home game that does not charge a seat fee or rake. Aside from this there is nowhere else to legally play poker. The casinos in Hawaii offer a small range of games including bingo, raffles, and sports betting. What most don’t know about the Aloha State is it was settled by Mormons who strictly forbid gambling. These ideals have stood the test of time and along with Hawaii’s tourism community are quite intent on keeping most gambling games out of the state. It appears for the time being there is a vocal minority in support of Hawaii Online Poker while the vast majority of residents and politicians are against it. The irony here being that this is the exact opposite of most states yet Hawaii was quite close to passing online gambling legislation.
It will be interesting to following the future of Online Poker in Hawaii if intrastate regulation was realized. While there has been reason for optimism with the previous bill, most will point to the fact that it was shot down rather quickly. On top of this there just does not seem to be a big push from Hawaiian poker players to pass the bill. However, this all did occur before April 15th so perhaps the recent actions of the Department of Justice will force the poker-playing public to be more proactive next time around. Unfortunately, as one of the smaller states in the country, their voice may just not be big enough to make a difference. With under 1,400,000 residents even if intrastate legislation was passed there may not be a big enough player base for poker rooms to enter the market. Only time will tell, at this time Hawaii Online Poker intrastate legislation is truly up in the air.