Hawaii gov likely to resist casino measure
By Bob Garcia
The chances of any casino being approved by Hawaii Governor David Ige are slim to none
The Hawaiian Homes Commission (HHC) recently approved a proposition by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) to consider a casino as a way to pick up much-needed revenue. The DHHL is responsible for assisting indigenous Hawaiians and one of its tasks is providing housing, something that has become difficult due to a major budget shortfall. The casino would be a way to start generating more revenue, but it won’t come easy. The idea would eventually have to pass the desk of Hawaii Governor David Ige, and there’s not much chance that he would sign his name to any casino measure.
The DHHL needs $6 billion if it’s going to provide the housing assistance it is meant to give to native Hawaiians. That money isn’t going to come from Hawaii’s budget or the federal budget, and offering a casino seemed to be a good way to help cover the losses. However, Ige has his mind made up and told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser recently, “The benefits (of a casino) would not exceed the social costs of gambling. It does not provide economic value to our community.”
The idea will still be included in Hawaii’s budget proposal for next year following its approval by the HHC. However, the DHHL might need to begin now looking for alternative sources for its funding. Ige’s position is shared by several senators in the state and it’s not looking good for Hawaii’s first-ever legal gambling property. Ige is term-limited and will have to vacate the governor’s office in 2022, so perhaps the DHHL can try to get something done then. However, in the meantime, the native Hawaiian people are going to find their resources severely limited.