Hawaii Dives into Gambling Law with Poker Bill
Game of skill exemption for NLH/PLO, super-taxation for online sites
Only two states in the US have no legal gambling — Hawaii and Utah. Could be just one soon, say supporters and opponents alike of a bill in Hawaii that would specifically legalize Texas Hold’em and Omaha poker, live and online.
The bill, which passed out of committee yesterday, looks to make Hawaii a destination for big-time live (and televised) poker events … as well as a potential home base for online sites serving US players … by designating the foundations of Pokerati NLH/PLO as games of skill, not played against a casino “house” and therefore exempt from state gambling prohibitions.
PPA Exec Dir. John Pappas supplied written testimony for the hearing, suggesting that the way this current bill is crafted could be problematically prohibitive, as it seeks to charge $100 million for a server license and impose a 20 percent tax on all wagers while potentially challenging federal law. Pappas, however, did not provide any statement on the economic impact such a law would have on Waikiki vendors selling T-shirts like these:
The Hawaii poker bill — originally written supposedly to provide a tax holiday for buying school supplies — passed out of the Economic Revitalization & Business Committee on a 7-1 vote, and the House Judiciary Committee, 9-3. It now moves on to the House Finance Committee.
(Mahalo Poker Gnome for the heads-up.)