Developers Roll Out Preliminary Plan for
Casino At Belmont Racetrack
by Melissa Argueta
Citizens for a Better Way, a group that is pushing to legalize gambling in Hawaii, will launch a new television show on Olelo Television to educate citizens on its plan to build a standing casino in Waikiki.
The group, headed by Liz Watanabe, also launched a web site that highlights its plan.
Hawaii is one of only two states without any form of legalized gaming. Legislation to change that has been introduced over the last 12 years but always has failed. Legislation from last session is still alive and could be addressed again as early as January 2012.
Citizens for a Better Way is pushing for gambling as a new form of revenue for the state government. The plan includes a $1 million bidding fee for every casino company interested in winning the contract, a $150 million licensing fee and a 15 percent general excise tax on all transactions inside the casino.
The legislature, although looking for additional revenue sources, has been reluctant to legalize gaming, largely because of vocal public opposition.
Liz Hata Watanabe is not one to sit on the sidelines. The former nightclub owner and entrepreneur has a new cause: getting Waikiki a casino.
Watanabe founded Citizens for a Better Way, an organization she says has more than 300 active members lobbying for a casino to provide new jobs and a new business for Hawaii….
She linked up with John Radcliffe, a lobbyist who has been pushing for a Hawaii casino for a decade. They met when Watanabe was doing a charity gambling-free poker tournament for her family charity, the Hata Foundation, which supports children and family organizations.
Citizens for a Better Way has also attracted the support of Jeff Coelho, a longtime broadcaster who will be retiring as general manager of Salem Media Hawaii and was an adviser to former Mayor Mufi Hannemann….
Radcliffe works with Marketing Resource Group of Lansing, Mich. It works with a Detroit casino whose investors would be interested in bidding on a Waikiki casino, Radcliffe said.
"I am sure if given the opportunity, they would want to compete for a license," he said.
Under a bill proposed this year, potential casino operators would first have to put down a large fee for the right to make a bid on a casino license. The bidding would be handled by a specially appointed state board.
Honolulu Star-Advertiser: Entrepreneurs get rolling on Waikiki casino idea
Most interesting Comment: “Borreca stays in the shallow end of the pool once again. Major players? Liz is consistent: 100% track record of failure. With all of biographical info he puffed her up with, why omit an important fact -- her bankruptcy filing in June, 2011, which details her train wrecks and the $300,000 plus she stiffed her creditors for. She is a success only at self-promotion which you and others facilitate at the expense of reality. Coelho was an advisor to Mufi. More relevant was that he was the managing director for less than a year and eased over to Director of Customer Service. After three years with Salem, he is soon to be retired and moving to the Mainland. Whoever hires Radcliffe, though, gets something for the money -- newspaper space even if the stories are fantasies.”
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