H.R. NO.



H.D. 1





H.D. 1









     WHEREAS, it is important for Hawaii to diversify its economy and address budget shortfalls; and


     WHEREAS, legalized gambling is a recurrent and popular idea to address these issues; and


     WHEREAS, nearly every legislative session, including the Regular Session of 2021, legalized gambling legislation is introduced; and


     WHEREAS, nevertheless, Hawaii is one of only two states without any form of legalized gambling; and


     WHEREAS, Hawaii's isolated geography makes the State particularly sensitive to the destabilizing effects of outside forces; and


WHEREAS, although most people gamble recreationally, a small proportion of individuals are harmed by gambling, which can have an impact on the larger community; and


     WHEREAS, similar to Hawaii's natural resources, local communities must be protected as a delicate ecosystem; and


     WHEREAS, any industry that is potentially addictive should be treated as a potentially invasive harm; and


     WHEREAS, public testimony on legalized gambling legislation has frequently referenced concerns regarding general crime, organized crime, problem gambling, and other related issues, including sex trafficking, domestic violence, school dropout rates, and undesirable tourism effects; and


     WHEREAS, due to public opposition, proposals for legalized gambling are swiftly rejected before sufficient debate can occur, leaving key questions regarding the efficacy of regulated gambling unanswered; and


     WHEREAS, unregulated, illegal gambling and gambling-related issues are already impacting Hawaii; and


     WHEREAS, although the Honolulu Police Department only reported thirty-four arrests in 2019 and forty-four arrests in 2018 for gambling offenses, there are believed to be approximately seventy to one hundred illegal gambling rooms on Oahu; and


     WHEREAS, local authorities are also reporting an increased demand for gambling due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and


     WHEREAS, a 2009 study by the National Council on Problem Gambling estimated that the social costs of gambling addiction in Hawaii from twenty thousand problem gamblers and ten thousand pathological gamblers was $26,300,000; however, no public funding was provided for gambling treatment and prevention; and


     WHEREAS, dedicated and protected funding for gambling research will help address these critical community issues; and


     WHEREAS, to achieve a more productive discourse on whether Hawaii should pursue legalized gambling, research on relevant public health and safety concerns is necessary to guide decision-making on gaming‑related issues; now, therefore,


     BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Thirty-first Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2021, that the Legislative Reference Bureau is requested to conduct a study to guide decision-making on gaming-related issues; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the research is requested to address the following areas:


     (1)  The prevalence of gambling problems before and after initiation of legalized gambling, including:


          (A)  A baseline prevalence study to establish the current state of gambling along the spectrum from recreational to problem gambling, broken down by demographic variables of interest, such as age, gender, location, and community membership, and to address the cultural characteristics of gamblers and gambling communities; and


          (B)  If gambling is legalized, subsequent studies, conducted at least one-year following the initiation of legalized gambling, to assess changes in gambling patterns and populations and should evaluate the relationships to gambling‑related harms, such as comorbidity, unemployment, criminal activity, and other factors commonly evaluated in research literature;


     (2)  Focused evaluation of gambling and the impact on vulnerable populations, including research that:


          (A)  Identifies the attitudes of individuals in these groups; how legalized gambling would positively or negatively affect these individuals; and the safeguards that could be instituted to amplify the positive and mitigate the negative consequences; and


          (B)  Includes policy analysis to eliminate loopholes that create an incentive for predatory businesses to emerge;


     (3)  Economic impact studies to assess the effect of gaming facilities on communities and the feasibility of asset‑based incentive programs for specific communities; and


     (4)  Impact studies to assess the effect of gaming facilities on public health and safety in the surrounding communities; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a certified copy of this Resolution be transmitted to the Director of the Legislative Reference Bureau.

Report Title: 

Legalized Gambling; Research; Policy Framework; DBEDT