Friday, January 27, 2012

Hawaii Gambling Advocates Push for Slots at Honolulu Convention Center


Hawaii gaming supporter wants to place slot machines at Honolulu convention center
1.25.2012

By Howard Stutz

If it’s January, then it’s time for another casino gaming proposal to surface in Hawaii.

Gambling proponents believe Honolulu’s 15-year-old convention center would be the perfect location for slot machine casino. Revenues from the games would help pay for a renovation to the facility.

Randy Tanaka, the assistant general manager of the convention center told KITV News, Honolulu’s ABC affiliate, that he was not aware anyone was pushing gaming proposals for the center.

“It’s news to me,” said Tanaka.

Hawaii is one just two states, along with Utah, that does not have any form of legalized gaming.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority said it has not taken a position on gambling, but longtime gambling supporter Joe Souki told the TV station the convention center is under consideration.

“There is some possibility we could put it there and start it off quickly,” said the Maui lawmaker.

Souki has introduced a bill for a stand-alone entertainment center and casino. It calls for a single casino, centrally located in Waikiki and not attached to any hotel.

Other bills in the Hawaii Legislature would allow Internet gambling, slot machines in resort areas and at the Honolulu International Airport.

In the past gaming legalization bills have faced stiff opposition from opponents.

Blogger's Note: Gambling lobbyist John Radcliffe and his clients Detroit gambling industry clients have previously floated the idea of converting some or all of the existing Convention Center space into a gambling and entertainment venue.  The Detroit gambling interests have some experience converting existing space into gambling use and they have experience working with publicly owned arenas and convention centers.

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