Friday, October 28, 2011

A Decade Ago: Detroiters' First Big Push to Legalize Gambling in Hawaii

The mainland group says casinos would improve the economy

By Richard Borreca
Detroiters pushing to
legalize gambling in Hawaii
A group of mainland investors -- including Marian Ilitch, who owns 25 percent of a Detroit casino -- is launching a push to legalize gambling in Hawaii.

The group, called Holomua Hawaii, plans to testify at a Senate hearing next Thursday to be held by the Economic Development Committee, chaired by Sen. Rod Tam (D-Nuuanu).

The committee is considering resolutions to authorize a study on the economic impact of gambling in the Islands.

But the new group is pushing its own study prepared by Michigan Consultants with the assistance of Lawrence Boyd, a University of Hawaii economist.

The group also is planning newspaper, television and radio ads calling for action by the Legislature this year.

"This is a serious effort at economic development for Hawaii," said John Radcliffe, who is has been hired by a public relations firm associated with gambling interests.

Radcliffe also is the associate executive director of the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, which is threatening to strike April 5 if new wage increases are not granted.

Radcliffe sees legalizing gambling as a viable way to improve the state's economic health.
"This is a serious attempt to improve the local economy," he said. "We are hoping for some action this year."

The 75-page economic report concludes that if there were two casinos on Oahu they would bring in $431 million and 6.8 million visitors a year.

"It is entirely logical that a person who withheld support for past gaming proposals during other economic times would now decide to support the dual Oahu casino approach given the financial soundness of the proposal and the competitive and economic realities facing Hawaii," the report said.

In Detroit, Ilitch's casino, MotorCity, has taken in $872,000 a day from food, drink and gambling, according to a report by Mandalay Resort Group, which owns 53.5 percent of the casino.

Senate President Robert Bunda, who has sponsored bills to legalize betting on horse races and lotteries, said he did not know if there was enough support in the Legislature to approve a gambling bill this year. Instead, he is hoping for a study during the interim.

Earlier in this legislative session, Gov. Ben Cayetano said he was interested in a proposal by Sun International to build a $800 million resort and casino at Ko Olina, but that proposal failed to generate support among lawmakers.
Blogger's Note: In the decade since this article was published, Marian Ilitch has taken ownership of MotorCity Casino. However, she and her partner Michael Malik have failed to open any new commercial gaming enterprises and have failed despite numerous schemes to develop off-reservation Indian casinos in Barstow (CA), Port Huron (MI) and on Long Island (NY). Michael Malik was forced from the original MotorCity Casino partnership when the Michigan Gaming Control Board failed to award him with a gaming license in 1999. In the 12 years since, Ilitch/Malik partnerships have failed to win approvals for, or assume management/operations of, any new casinos.


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Ilitch has backed loosing sports teams and pizza, but casinos in Detroit? 10.09.06 ● Marian Ilitch #1 on "25 Most Powerful People" to Watch 2006” global gaming business o1.oo.o5 ● My Kingdom for a Casino Forbes 05.08.06 ● Big Lagoon’s casino dream awakens north coast journal 07.28.05 ● Shinnecocks launch legal claim to Hamptons land 06.16.05 ● Ilitch Plans to Expand Casino Empire 07.05.05 ● Ilitch outbids partners 04.14.05 ● Ilitch enmeshed in NY casino dispute 03.20.05 ● Marian Ilitch, high roller 03.20.05 ● MGM Mirage to Decide on Offer for Casino in Detroit 04.16.05 ● Secret deal for MotorCity alleged 02.15.05 ● Los Coyotes get new developer 02.08.05 Detroit casino figure to finance Barstow project 07.07.03 ● Indian Band trying to put casino in Barstow 06.04.03 Pizza matriarch takes on casino roles 10.23.02 ● Vanderbilt gets short straw in negotiations for a casino Lansing Journal 10.06.02 ● Indians aim to drive family from tribe in vicious dispute san diego union tribune 04.09.00 ●Malik owns 2000 Michigan Quarter Horse of the Year 01.01.00 ● Detroit Team to run Michigan’s newest Indian casino 05.23.99 Tiger ties tangle Marian Ilitch 04.29.99 ● Three investors must sell their Detroit casino interests 04.25.99 ● Partners’ cash revived election; They say money was crucial to Prop-E 04.25.99 Investors have troubled histories las vegas review journal 04.27.99 ● Investor served probation for domestic assault on 12 year old boy 04.25.99 Can a pair win a jackpot?: local men hope to... 03.17.97

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