Hawaii Punts on Casino Gambling Yet Again
States like Georgia, Mississippi, and Florida are all considering some form of online gambling expansion. Thus far, most prospects have been slightly positive with some bills already moving forward in the legislative process. However, that is not the case everywhere.
It appears that Hawaii will yet again punt on a casino bill. It also appears that Texas could be joining them as the state’s Lt. Governor claims that gambling has no shot this year. Not all the news is bad though as an Alabama Senate committee approved a gambling expansion bill.
Hawaii Casino Bill Dies in Committee
We almost did not report about Hawaii as the state has historically been anti-gambling. This year, lawmakers filed HB 350, a bill that would have built a live casino in the Honolulu city of Kapolei. Despite the potential for $30 million in annual tax revenue to the state, the bill effectively died in committee.
Rep. Sean Quinlan, the chair of the House Economic Development Committee chose to defer on the measure. This effectively kills the bill for 2021. One of the main reasons that the bill was deferred was a report from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands that claims that bringing casinos to the state would increase the chances of sex trafficking.
Honestly, the odds of this bill getting through were pretty slim, even if it didn’t die in committee. Hawaii is one of the staunchest anti-gambling states in the United States. Odds are that they will be on an island with Utah as one of the last states to legalize gambling if it ever happens.
Texas Lt. Governor Claims Gambling Bills Have No Chance
Despite widespread support for legalized casino gambling in Texas, some politicians believe it to be a dead issue. According to Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, casino gambling is “not even an issue that’s going to see the light of day.”
Patrick believes that the money that could be raised from live gambling will not be enough to be substantial to satisfy budgetary shortfalls in the state. The state is facing a nearly $1 billion shortfall and gambling revenues will bring in somewhere around $150 million.
There are multiple bills being considered by lawmakers, including a bill that would authorize up to 12 casinos in the state. Other measures address online gambling, including online sports betting and real money online casinos.
Alabama Casino Bill Moves Out of Committee
In some good news, it appears that SB 214 will move forward in the legislative process. According to reports, the bill passed unanimously out of the Alabama Senate Tourism Committee. The bill will legalize the lottery, sports betting, and allow five live casinos in the state.
The bill now moves to a Senate floor vote. If passed, it heads over to the House for the same process. Unlike most bills, this bill requires a 60% approval. That’s because the bill will require a constitutional amendment, along with a referendum vote from the public.
Even if the bill were to get the required numbers to pass, it will be quite a while before anything is finalized. If the bill passes, the referendum vote would be on the 2022 election cycle. This means that it would be 2023 before we would see any form of legalized gambling in the state.
If passed, one would assume that the referendum would have solid odds of passing. According to a study conducted on the effects of gambling in the state, casino gambling will bring 19,000 jobs to Alabama along with $700 million in tax revenue. New jobs are always a strong selling point for gambling. Just look at referendums in Virginia that passed in 2020. Regardless, Alabama is still a couple of years away before being able to legally gamble.