Anyone who lives in Hawaii will know howwhat happens on the mainland US can eventually make its presence felt there. One area that many Hawaiians are keeping a close eye oninvolves the recent relaxation of online gambling laws by many mainland US states. As the general attitude around gambling online softens across the water, states including Pennsylvania are offering PA online gambling to those within their borders. What is the background to this, and could Hawaii be about to follow suit in the coming decade?
Individual mainland states allowed to offer online casino play
For many years, the attitude around gambling in general and certainly online gambling was as prohibitive on the mainland as it is in Hawaii still today. Back then, the 1961 Federal Wire Act effectively outlawed any form of telephone sports betting or online gambling. Even physical casinos were only allowed to operate in certain states such as Nevada and New Jersey. This changed in the early 2010s when individual mainland states began to challenge the existing interpretation of federal legislation.
Eventually, this saw New Jersey sign a bill into effect that legalized online casino play within its borders for those over the age of 21 in February 2013. This opened the door for other states to take similar action and placessuch as Indiana and Pennsylvania allow you to play at online casinos when in their borders. This has not only been a real bonus for the states themselves but also players there, who can now enjoy the fun and excitement of online casino games. As a result, the current picture of the online gambling sector in the mainland US is a lot different from how it once was.
Will Hawaii follow this lead?
The burning question for Hawaiian residents is whether those who currently rule the state will also decide to legalize online gambling. As you will know, any kind of gambling is illegal in Hawaii at present. In many ways though, you could easily see online play being made legal in the coming 10 years. Hawaii will certainly not want to be left behind other mainland states and pick up a reputation for being outdated or stuck in the past.
State rulers will also look at the extra money in terms of taxes that could be brought in by allowing online casinos to operate in Hawaiian borders. New Jersey, for example, has an online gambling market worth around $225m per year, which is not to be sniffed at. The money and jobs that allowing online gambling could bring, along with making the state more attractive to visitors, could be hard to resist.
Of course, there is no doubt that any changes like this would be a massive change. Hawaii has traditionally been very strict around any kind of gambling or casino play in terms of its legality within state borders. Allowing online casinos to operate in Hawaii would be a big change for many people. The key thing to remember though is that it could be a welcome one. Playing casino games on the internet is a great way to relax and have fun – many people in Hawaii could actually welcome the chance to partake in this.
Hawaiian lawmakers may be warming to the idea
While the public appetite for change in this area is key, much naturally rests on the required political will being there. Interestingly, this is something that may be about to gather pace. In the past, bills have been sponsored by Hawaiian lawmakers to legalize online gambling. The Senate Bill 677 of 2017 from Michelle Kidani is a good example of this. Although bills like this have not being passed into law for Hawaii as yet, it shows that there is a political desire to bring about change.
If this picks up speed in the 2020s, then we could well see Hawaii making online casino gambling legal in its borders. The only thing that may concern state rulers is whether publicly backing online gambling would cost them any votes at upcoming elections. As more people begin to see the benefits that this sector brings to states and also the fun that it delivers to players, this seems fairly unlikely though.
Change may be hard to stop
As noted above, Hawaii has traditionally been opposed to all forms of gambling and taken pains to keep it out of daily life. This may be about to change though as time moves on and online gambling is not viewed with so much suspicion anymore. Outdated views on what online casinos bring to the table seem to be shifting across the board, and this could prompt Hawaii to reconsider its own stance in this area soon.