Posted 3/23/11 : New proposal could see significant tourism benefits for the state
The US state of Hawaii could be on the poker legalization trail, according to a new bill just introduced to the Senate and labelled SB755. The bill justifies legalization by highlighting the need for enhanced tourism and business attractions in the wake of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, and is detailed at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2011/Bills/SB755_HD1_PROPOSED_.pdf.
In summary, it involves:
Gambling; Peer-to-Peer Gaming
Authorises peer-to-peer games of skill, including poker, in which each player receives the player's personal winnings from the game but in which no other person or entity derives any proceeds based on the outcome of the game.
Permits licensed venue to charge fee to participate in game or percentage of total wagers in game, or both.
Authorises issuance of not more than two five year licenses to operate infrastructure for online peer-to-peer games of skill for a minimum fee of $100 million per year, 20 percent of total wagers, and advertising for State.
Prohibits licensee from participating, directly or indirectly in games and prohibits participation by computer. Establishes Peer-to-Peer Gaming Commission effective July 1, 2012.
The Gaming Commission will fall under the Department of Economic Development and Tourism and will consist of a 7 member body serving five year terms, which will be supported by an executive director and appropriate staffing levels.
It has been proposed that the legalization be effected through an amendment to the Hawaii Revised Statutes as a Peer-to-Peer Gambling law.
Posts on the popular twoplustwo poker forum suggest that Full Tilt Poker has already expressed interest in moving part of its operations to the islands should the bill prove successful.
The first hearings on the bill will probably be before the Committee on Economic Revitalisation and Business chaired by Rep. Angus L.K. McKelvey, and the Committee on Judiciary chaired by Rep. Gilbert S.C. Keith-Agaran.on 23 March 2011. Testimony can be submitted here: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/emailt…?measure=SB755
According to industry observers, the Hawaiian bill seeks to effect the following:
* Poker will be legally recognised as a game of skill
* Poker will be exempted from the Hawaii gambling statute
* Online poker will be legalised, and operators will be encouraged to set up businesson the islands.
* Large tournament operators such as the World Series of Poker, North Amercian Poker Tour and World Poker Tour will be encouraged to stage major events in Hawaii, assisting the development of tourism – especially out-of-season.
* A licensing framework and Gaming Commission will be established for operators.