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US – Hawaii takes first steps towards legalising sports betting

By - 25 January 2019

Law makers in Hawaii have introduced a bill to legalise sports betting in the state, as well as creating a self-governing, state-owned operator.

The bill, which would see the introduction of a similar betting environment as in Delaware and Rhode Island, would create the Hawaii Sports Wagering Corporation.

The bill stated: “Tens of thousands of Hawaii residents are estimated to participate in illegal online sports gambling on unregulated internet websites. These gambling websites 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 websites. Moreover, tens of millions of dollars in revenues generated from online gambling are being realised 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 sports wagering in Hawaii, it is in the best interest of the State and its citizens to regulate this existing activity by authorising and implementing a secure, responsible, and legal system for sports wagering,” it added. “The State’s interests are best met by doing so through a sports wagering 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.”

If the bill is passed, the Hawaii regulatory board would choose how sports betting would be brought in, what bets would be allowed and which betting operator it would work with.

It would be the first form of betting allowed in Hawaii.

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