Hawaii Looking at Online Sports Betting?
There is no stopping the U.S. sports betting industry as 2021 was another big year. Industry experts were looking at a handful of states to legalize this form of betting in 2022, but there has already been a big surprise.
House Bill 736 was actually introduced in 2021, but no action was taken. HB 736 has now carried over into 2022, and it would allow for at least five online sports betting licenses in the state.
There aren’t any current casinos in the state of Hawaii, but there are bills on the table that could change those laws as well. Hawaii is one of a handful of states without any legal betting options, but lawmakers could be looking to make a big move.
House Bill 1815 is a bill that was just recently introduced and it provides additional language that might be needed to set up the sports betting framework. Hawaii lawmakers have been quick to shoot down any bills related to gambling in the past, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out this time around.
Sportsbooks Won’t Be Happy
Sportsbook operators are always keeping a close eye on legislation as it pertains to sports betting. Hawaii could emerge as an attractive target for sportsbooks, but not if the current bill remains unchanged.
The current language in the bill requires a sports betting tax of 55%, which will have a significant impact on both sportsbooks and sports bettors. Other states have gone over the 50% threshold before, but this would be the highest tax rate in the United States.
It would be the sportsbooks that have to pay that 55% tax, but that is going to impact the betting odds and lines that are set. Sportsbooks will also be less likely to offer any bonuses or promotions since they are already having to pay back a large chunk of their revenue.
This is just the initial language in the bill, and you can expect some changes over the next few weeks as well.
Plenty of Debate Coming
Hawaii is a state that has some extremely restrictive laws when it comes to gambling of any kind, and the culture of the state is not one that looks at betting favorably. Getting a bill introduced is an important first step, but don’t expect this entire process to run smoothly.
A recent study has shown that there is plenty of online betting already being done, and the state is hoping to keep that revenue in Hawaii. This state has also looked down on any forms of gambling, but it’s hard to argue with how well this industry has worked in other states.
Sportsbooks are also going to be having their voice heard about the incredibly high tax rate. Getting a bill introduced is a step in the right direction, but plenty of work remains.
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