A Reasonable Casino Suggestion

Bob Jones
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Wednesday - February 09, 2011
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I’m not a gambler. So please hear me out. Some form of gambling is inevitable for Hawaii. Many would-be Island tourists are going to Las Vegas, Sydney, Seoul and Singapore. Conventioneers like some gaming action. We don’t even have a movie theater in Waikiki!

A lottery — Gov.Abercrombie’s suggestion — would drain money from our ever-hopeful poor. This plan would not, and it’s worthy of a hearing: Allow one stand-alone casino in Waikiki on a 10-year contract with the state or city. No one can enter it without being checked into a hotel and buying a one-day casino entry-ticket ($10-$25) sold only at their hotel. Yes, local residents could go in, but they also must be registered in a hotel and pay the fee. The casino would close at our bar hours either 2 or 4 a.m. People would still have to be checked into a hotel and pay another day-fee to gamble another day.

Some local people might start staying in Waikiki one weekend now and then. It also would give tourists something to do once they have been to a luau and had their fill of shopping.


The developer/operator to be selected by competitive bidding. The casino should not compete with Waikiki businesses. It should be limited to a liquor license, convenience store and a fast-food restaurant, maybe some live entertainment.

You’re worried about foot-inthe-door gambling? We can mimic Connecticut. It has two casinos, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, and the government gets big bucks from them. Their contract says that if the Legislature approves another casino license, they don’t have to pay the state anything. So Connecticut has no new casinos.

There is a bill in this year’s Lege to allow one stand-alone casino. It says nothing about the in-hotel requirement, operating hours, retail competition or protecting against more casinos.

Gambling is going to come. Why not do it right?

One of the best transit-train suggestions comes from former city councilman Todd Apo. Let the Federal Transit Administration have the final yes/no. It has the expertise to judge our project’s financial worthiness. We should concentrate on aesthetics, building it, running it and raising the local money. The Slaters, AIA and League of Women Voters have had their naysays. The FTA says “go.” Let’s get on with land acquisition and start construction.


The Judiciary wants more money and people to handle the case load. Trials are backlogged. Maybe that’s good. Maybe we’ll have fewer lawsuits if you have to wait five years to get that notso-urgent case on the docket. Arbitration is the way to go.

Cut Judiciary another 13 percent this budget.

Rep. Mina Morita has been appointed to the Public Utilities Commission by Gov. Abercrombie. I find that problematic. She has said: “There are too many things stacked against nuclear (energy) to have any kind of real possibility to move forward.” We should be giving a fair hearing on all forms of energy.

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