Think About It: Bet On It - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

June 18, 2018

Think About It: Bet On It

Let the games begin! I'm not talking about soccer's World Cup or the start of NFL training camp, but rather the discussions which should be occurring today among legislators about whether Hawaii should now jump on the sports betting bandwagon. Last month, the Supreme Court struck down sports betting laws that precluded individual states, outside of Nevada, from allowing legal sports gambling. Over 60% of American adults gambled over the past 12-months. Over 80% say that gambling is legitimate and casinos are okay. Gambling generates more revenue than movies, spectator sports, theme parks, cruise ships and recorded music combined.

Now I am well aware of some of the inherit problems that gambling might bring, but let's face local reality. Many thousands illegally bet on sports here, and there are plenty more who fly to Vegas often to do the same. Since we're not going to soon allow shipboard gambling- even off shore- perhaps sports gambling is a way to reap much needed benefits for all, including the hundreds of thousands here who don't bet on sports. We've all heard the tales about the illegal gambling underground- nagging debts, heavy-handed collections people, etc. And the fear of being found out no doubt precludes some betting abusers from handling their addiction issues. It's time to talk about local, legal sports gambling, controlled, and with targeted funding recipients.

It is estimated by the American Gaming Association that there is more than $150 billion wagered annually illegal on sporting events in the USA. Since Hawaii's population represents four tenths of one percent of the country's populace, simple math suggests there might be more than $590 million bet here yearly-on sports. If just 20% of that money went toward education, repairing parks and sports fields, upgrading infrastructure, providing housing... and the list goes on. So who will be the brave proponents right now, before the legislature convenes, to discuss this real opportunity as we await the 2019 legislative session. Let's listen to the arguments, because legalized, local sports wagering might be a good bet for Hawaii starting soon. Think about it…

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