Special Report

Rolling The Dice

About The Series

Should gambling be legal in Hawaii? That’s a question that comes up every year at the Legislature, with proposals ranging from a casino in Waikiki or on Native Hawaiian lands, a lottery, sports betting and even shipboard gambling. The debate seems most intense when the state is suffering budget shortfalls, as happened last year, making the millions of dollars in likely gambling revenues most attractive. But so far all efforts have failed. This project will take a deeper look at the pros and cons of the controversial issue.
Hawaii Already Has Problem Gamblers, But It Has Few Resources To Help Them Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2016

Hawaii Already Has Problem Gamblers, But It Has Few Resources To Help Them

Fears of increased addiction and crime are frequently cited as reasons not to legalize gambling in the Aloha State.

Not In The Cards: Gambling Bills Among Dead Proposals At The Hawaii Legislature Kuʻu Kauanoe/Civil Beat/2020

Not In The Cards: Gambling Bills Among Dead Proposals At The Hawaii Legislature

Bills targeting the state auditor’s office and measures to shield the state from inmate lawsuits also failed this year.

Should Hawaii Gamble On Online Sports Betting? Screenshot/2022/FanDuel

Should Hawaii Gamble On Online Sports Betting?

Measures that would regulate online sports betting could generate some tax revenues for the state, but experts worry easy access could fuel gambling addictions.

Strict Regulation, High Taxes: How Would A Casino Work In Hawaii? Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

Strict Regulation, High Taxes: How Would A Casino Work In Hawaii?

The state could take a cue from the mainland and pair a limited number of gambling licenses with high tax rates on casino operators.

Illegal Gambling Rooms Keep Springing Up But Police Have Few Tools To Shut Them Down Honolulu Police Department

Illegal Gambling Rooms Keep Springing Up But Police Have Few Tools To Shut Them Down

Honolulu police conduct dozens of raids every year and have seized more than 700 machines that still sit, unclaimed, in a warehouse on Oahu.

Gambling Is Illegal In Hawaii. But Las Vegas Is Only A Plane Ride Away Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2017

Gambling Is Illegal In Hawaii. But Las Vegas Is Only A Plane Ride Away

Hawaii residents pump millions of dollars a year into southern Nevada’s economy. Would any of that money come home if Hawaii legalizes gambling?