The proposal to build a casino in Hawaii a hit a huge snag as it failed to get out of a committee.
According to a report from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, HB 359, was deferred by Rep. Sean Quinlan, the chairman of the House Economic Development Committee. The bill passed the Hawaiian Homes Commission at the end of 2020 and planned to build a casino resort in Kapolei, a city west of Honolulu on the island of Oahu.
The idea behind the proposal was that a casino in Kapolei would generate $30 million in annual tax revenue, which would be used to build homes for nearly 29,000 native Hawaiians.
Historically, the Hawaiian legislature has been staunchly opposed to bringing gambling to the chain of islands. There was testimony from both law enforcement and from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands in opposition to the creation of a Las Vegas-style casino in Oahu.
A few days before Quinlan basically killed the bill, a report compiled by a state agency stated that bringing a casino to Hawaii would increase the likelihood of sex trafficking. The report was titled ‘Gambling With Women’s Safety: A Feminist Assessment of Proposed Resort-Casino.’
The state House of Representatives requested a study on the effects of gambling before they moved forward with a vote. The nine-page report also said that a casino would increase domestic violence and said that men who gamble are more likely to pay for sex. It said that Native Hawaiian women were particularly at risk of being a victim of a trafficking ring.
A companion bill, SB 1321, is still circulating through the Senate, but it’s chances of passing after the most recent developments seem bleak.