The bid to boost tourism and revenues from online betting through the legalisation of online and live poker in Hawaii is dead, defeated by a legislative deadline, reports Associated Press. The bill proposing the concept failed to get a public hearing in the Legislature by last Friday's deadline, and therefore failed to advance, effectively taking it into a dead end for this year.
Hawaii and Utah are the only two US states without any form of legalised gambling.
The poker measure would have exempted the game from state laws banning gambling by defining it as a game of skill rather than chance. Only Texas Hold 'em and Omaha varieties of poker would have been permitted. Games played against a computer or casino, such as video poker, wouldn't have been allowed.
"For the silent working majority of Hawaii, this offered revenue to the state without the social ills of other types of gaming, and it was a way to avoid nasty tax increases," said Rep. Angus McKelvey, chairman for the House Economic Revitalization & Business Committee, which along with the House Judiciary Committee advanced the bill last month to the House Finance Committee.
Unfortunately, that is where it stalled and failed to emerge in time to beat the deadline. There wasn't enough public interest in the bill to merit additional consideration, said Finance Committee Chairman Marcus Oshiro.
McKelvey envisioned holding televised tournaments like the World Series of Poker in Hawaii, which he said would promote tourism by showcasing the islands. Tournament fees would have brought money into the state, which faces deep projected deficits over the next two years.
The bill's authors also rather ambitiously envisaged Internet poker sites being legalised, charging a fee of $100 million to locate servers in Hawaii.
Source: InfoPowa News