Hawaii SB768: Bill for an Act relating to Internet Gaming

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Hawaii SB768: Bill for an Act relating to Internet Gaming.

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"BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

[Excerpts]

SECTION 1.

The legislature finds that internet wagering on games of chance and games of skill has evolved into a core form of entertainment for millions of individuals worldwide. In over eighty-five jurisdictions across the world, internet gambling is a legalized, regulated, and taxed activity that generates billions of dollars in revenue for governments. Currently, the United States is the largest unregulated internet gambling market in the world. It is estimated that millions of Americans

have wagered billions of dollars annually on unregulated, offshore websites, resulting in significant revenues escaping the United States economy.

On September 20, 2011, the United States Department of Justice issued an opinion that reversed its previous interpretation of the federal Wire Act, 18 U.S.C. §1084. The

Department of Justice's new interpretation allows state governments, subject to certain restrictions, to legalize and regulate internet gambling operations and capture that revenue for the benefit of state governments.

The legislature also finds that tens of thousands of Hawaii residents are estimated to participate in illegal online gambling on unregulated internet web sites. These gambling web sites are operated by illegal offshore operators not subject to

regulation or taxation in the United States. Questions often arise about the honesty and the fairness of the games offered to Hawaii residents, but neither federal nor Hawaii laws currently provide any consumer protections for Hawaii residents who play on these web sites. Moreover, tens of millions of dollars in revenues generated from online gambling are being realized by offshore operators serving Hawaii residents, but no benefits are provided to the State.

To protect Hawaii residents who gamble on the Internet, and to capture revenues generated from internet gambling in Hawaii, it is in the best interest of the State and its citizens to regulate this existing activity by authorizing and implementing a secure, responsible, and legal system for internet gambling. The State's interests are best met by doing so through an internet-only lottery and gaming corporation, which shall be a public instrumentality, operating for the sole benefit of the State, and accountable to the legislature and to the public through a system of audits and reports.

The purpose of this Act is to create a body politic, known as the Hawaii internet lottery and gaming corporation, authorized to offer a regulated, secure, and responsible framework for the conduct of internet wagering and gaming in

Hawaii that will provide consumer protections and capture additional revenues for the benefit of the State that are currently flowing offshore to unregulated internet gambling operations.

SECTION 2.

The Hawaii Revised Statutes is amended by adding a new chapter to be appropriately designated and to read as follows: "

[Excerpted from -- THE SENATE TWENTY-SEVENTH LEGISLATURE, 2013 STATE OF HAWAII; 2013-0723 SB SMA.doc]

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