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Hawaii’s Bold Move: Proposing Legal Online Sports Betting and Poker for State Revenue Boost



A Tropical Transformation: Hawaii’s Leap into Online Gambling

Hawaii, known for its idyllic landscapes, is poised for a major shift in its gambling landscape. Senator Ronald Kouchi is spearheading a legislative initiative, SB 3376, that aims to introduce online sports betting and poker to the state. This groundbreaking bill offers unique aspects that set it apart from typical sports betting legislation seen across the country.

Complementing SB 3376, the House presents a companion bill, HB 2260, advocating for a single physical gambling location. This dual approach signifies a comprehensive strategy to introduce regulated gambling in Hawaii, a state traditionally devoid of legal betting avenues.

Revolutionizing State Revenue through Gambling

A notable aspect of SB 3376 is its potential to generate substantial revenue for the state’s wildfire relief fund. Unlike other states where gambling tax revenues are allocated to various programs, this bill proposes a profit-sharing model for the initial 14 years of operation. In its first year, the state would receive a substantial 70% of all generated revenue, decreasing annually to a 5% share in the 14th year. This approach could significantly bolster Hawaii’s financial resilience, especially following devastating wildfires that have had a costly impact on the state.

Single-Operator Model: A Unique Approach

Distinct from other states’ legalization efforts, SB 3376 suggests a single-operator model for sports betting in Hawaii. This model, similar to New Hampshire’s arrangement with DraftKings, would see Hawaii appoint one exclusive operator to manage state sports betting. The bill’s innovative structure, coupled with the proposed significant revenue sharing, might attract or deter major operators like DraftKings and FanDuel, raising questions about the bill’s feasibility and appeal to industry leaders.


Challenges and Opportunities: Hawaii’s Legislative Landscape

Hawaii’s history with gambling is marked by strict prohibition, with no legal lotteries, casinos, or sportsbooks. Previous attempts to introduce legal sports betting have faltered, but SB 3376’s focus on wildfire relief funding and recognition of existing illegal online gambling practices set it apart. The bill acknowledges the reality of offshore betting by Hawaii residents and positions legalization as a means to capture this untapped revenue stream, while also offering consumer protections against unregulated offshore gambling sites.


SB 3376 represents a significant step towards legalizing online sports betting and poker in Hawaii, with the potential to channel millions into the state’s wildfire relief fund. Its unique approach, considering both a single-operator model and the broader implications for consumer protection and state revenue, marks a pivotal moment in Hawaii’s gambling history. As legislators and stakeholders weigh the bill’s prospects, Hawaii stands at the crossroads of a potential gambling revolution.

Jerome, a valuable addition to the Gamingo.News team, brings with him extensive journalistic experience in the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry was sparked during his college years when he participated in local poker tournaments, eventually leading to his exposure to the burgeoning world of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now utilizes his accumulated knowledge to fuel his passion for journalism, providing the team with the latest online scoops.

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