SB 1097 would grant a 10-year license for one stand-alone casino in Waikiki, though not in a hotel. The gaming commission would be supported by $5 million in state funds, and a wagering tax of 6.75 percent would be levied on gross receipts.
HB 781 would do the same thing, except the wagering tax would be 15 percent, which is what the new bill proposes. HB 781 would also create a State Gaming Fund and Compulsive Gambler Program, something the new bill calls for as well.
SB 1247 also calls for a one-time licensing issuance fee of $150 million “in cash or equivalent.”
Solomon’s bill faces several challenges.
For one, more than a dozen gaming measures failed this session, including the two that inform SB 1247.
For another, SB 1247 may not pass constitutional muster, as third reading is required in order for the bill to make it to floor votes in the House and Senate next week. Neither SB 1097 nor HB 781 made it very far in the legislative process before they were held.
A third problem is the title of the bill itself.
In order for lawmakers to gut an existing bill and completely fill it with new language, the title has to be similar.
SB 1247’s title is “Aloha Tower Development Corporation; Repeal; Appropriation.”
HB 781 is titled “Stand-Alone Casino Gaming; Waikiki” and SB 1097 is titled “Stand-Alone Casino Gaming; Waikiki; Appropriations.”
The word “appropriation” is common to two of those bills, so maybe that will be enough. It’s also possible that Solomon may find another vehicle that works better.
But she doesn’t have much time. The deadline for fiscal bills is Friday evening.
One other obstacle is other lawmakers.
Told of SB 1247’s potential reincarnation into a gaming bill, House Finance Chairman Marcus Oshiro said late Thursday, “this comes very late in the legislative process. We are not looking at it for the budget as a revenue source.”
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