The bill to legalize poker did not get a public hearing before the deadline of Friday for the bill to advance to the house, which means that legalized gambling in the state is no longer possible this year. Opponents of the casino gambling bill said that the proposal would open the door to gambling in a State which otherwise prohibits it. Dianne Kay, president of the Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling said: “Legalized gambling would introduce an undesirable element to our islands, and would have a highly detrimental effect on the tourist industry.” The bill would exclude poker from the gabling ban by categorize it as a game of skill rather than a game of chance. The only variations of poker that would be permitted are Texas Hold ‘em and Omaha. Playing against a computer or a casino such as video poker would not be allowed under the bill.
Representative Angus McKelvey said: “For the silent working majority of Hawaii, this offered revenue to the state without the social ills of other types of gaming, and it was a way to avoid nasty tax increases.” The proposal was approved by the Economic Revitalization & Business Committee and the Judiciary Committee last month. McKelvey had the idea to organize TV tournaments like the WSOP in Hawaii, which in its turn would promote tourism in the country. Tournament revenues for the state would bring in revenue to clear the states debt. All Internet gambling is currently done at “illegal” online casino sites which costs the government a lot of revenue.