Hawaii does not allow legalized gambling, let alone lotteries, and the prospects for a casino for Hawaiian Home Lands this session are uncertain.

That’s not the only gambling bill at the Hawaii Legislature, however. On Wednesday, the state Senate Education Committee will consider Senate Bill 816, which — as the bill is currently written — could set up a state lottery.

Specifically, the legislation would allow the lottery to begin in January 2022 and create a state lottery commission, a state lottery account and a lottery administration account.

Could Hawaii soon have a lottery? There’s a bill before state lawmakers. Flickr: Iain Watson

The bill also calls for setting up a task force within the state Department of Accounting and General Services “to examine the creation and sustainability of a state lottery, the proceeds of which would be used to address funding issues for university and public education.”

SB 816 would require “certain amounts” of lottery revenues to go into the administrative account noted above, the state general fund and special funds for university facilities and operations and public school operations.

Notably, the bill’s sponsor is Sen. Michelle Kidani, who heads the Education Committee and who is also the Senate vice president.

If SB 816 gets passed this week, amended or otherwise, it faces the hurdle of passing a joint committee hearing before Senate Judiciary and Ways and Means.

And it also would have to pass the House and get Gov. David Ige’s approval — no small task.

Help power our public service journalism

As a local newsroom, Civil Beat has a unique public service role in times of crisis.

That’s why we’re committed to a paywall-free website and subscription-free content, so we can get vital information out to everyone, from all communities.

We are deploying a significant amount of our resources to covering the Maui fires, and your support ensures that we can pivot when these types of emergencies arise.

Make a gift to Civil Beat today and help power our nonprofit newsroom.

About the Author