Lawmakers in Hawaii consider another sports betting measure

Hawaii Sports Betting HB 2765
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Hawaii lawmakers are considering another bill that would authorize sports betting.

The Hawaii House’s Economic Development Committee has heard House Bill 2765, a piece of legislation that proposes to legalize online sports betting in the Aloha State. HB 2765, introduced by Rep. Daniel Holt, looks to offer wagering in Hawaii with oversight from the state Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT). The bill also establishes the licensing framework for operators that are granted market access in the island state of 1.4 million people.

HB 2765 “species that sports wagering shall not be considered games of chance or gambling.” The measure has garnered support from major entities in sports betting, including DraftKings, FanDuel, Fanatics Sportsbook, and the Sports Betting Alliance (SBA).

Hawaii residents may also support HB 2765.

In 2022, 73% of residents surveyed in an Anthology Research poll supported regulated online wagering in the state for adults 21 years of order.

Despite the backing from residents, law enforcement in the Aloha State has taken a different stance. The Honolulu Police Department, in a written testimony by Narcotics and Vice Division Major Mike Lambert, stated that it believes gambling comes with “social ills and financial ruin.”

The HPD cited studies on the impact of problem gambling as factors for its stance. Following its recent hearing, HB 2765 has now been scheduled for decision making on Wednesday, Feb. 7.

Multiple attempts to bring sports betting to Hawaii

HB 2765 adds to the list of recent wagering measures in the Aloha State.

Earlier this month, Sen. Ronald D. Kouchi introduced Senate Bill 3376, a bill that would establish a Hawaii Gaming Control Commission and authorize online poker and sports betting.

SB 3376 proposes to allocate tax revenue from wagering toward a wildfire relief fund.

Regulated sports betting in Hawaii could generate an additional $9 million in tax revenue annually, according to the SBA. Hawaii already sees an estimated $277 million wagered unlawfully in the state annually, according to data provided by SBA attorney Kathleen Owen.