Maui News

Lawmaker to Discuss DHHL’s Proposed Resort-Casino

February 1, 2021, 6:48 AM HST
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Representative Stacelynn Eli (ʻEwa Villages, Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Nānākai Gardens, Ko Olina, Kahe Point, Nānākuli, Lualualei, Maili) will host a press conference this afternoon to discuss the proposed Department of Hawaiian Home Lands companion bills relating to the creation of a single resort-casino on Hawaiian home lands on Oʻahu. 

Rep. Eli will also discuss a new report titled “Gambling With Women’s Safety: A Feminist Assessment of DHHL Proposed Resort Casino,” written at the request of Representatives Eli, Lisa Kitagawa, Amy Perruso, Jeanné Kapela, Tina Wildberger and Sharon Har.

The report details the effects of gambling “as a public health issue that is tied to significant community harm and linked to sex trafficking and other violence against women.”

Khara Jabola-Carolus, Executive Director of the Hawai’i State Commission on the Status of Women, and Jodi Akau, Captain of the Kanehili Neighborhood Security Watch will speak at the event.

In a 5-4 vote on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020, the Commission approved item C-1 on the Hawaiian Homes Commission regularly scheduled December agenda seeking approval of a Legislative proposal to authorize limited gaming in the form of a single integrated resort property on Hawaiian Home Lands designated for commercial use.  

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Commissioners Randy Awo (Maui), David Kaʻapu (West Hawaiʻi), Zachary Helm (Molokaʻi), and Patricia Teruya (Oʻahu) voted against the proposed measure. Commissioners Michael Kaleikini (East Hawaiʻi), Russell Kaʻupu (Oʻahu), Pauline Namuʻo (Oʻahu), Dennis Neves (Kauaʻi), and HHC Chair William J. Ailā were yes votes. 

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The draft Legislative proposal, upon submission, will be reviewed by the Department of the Attorney General, the Department of Budget & Finance, and Governor David Ige for consideration in his Legislative packet. Should the Governor include the proposed measure in his packet, the draft Legislation would then proceed to be considered by the Hawaiʻi State Legislature. If the Governor chooses not to include it in his packet, the Department may seek a Legislator to introduce the proposal.  

According to DHHL, revenues from this initiative would be used to address the department’s “dire financial state” by ensuring the Department is the primary beneficiary of the gaming operation through a land lease agreement with the licensee and direct collection of 80 percent of the proposed state tax on gross gaming revenue. 

The proposed State Gaming Fund is expected to invest in initiatives to address possible increases in crime, gambling addiction, and other social issues, as well as provide for public security, job training, traffic improvements, and the administrative expenses of the new Gaming Commission. 

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