Image for Mike Lukas Mike Lukas - October 14, 2022

Hawaiian Lawmaker Introduces Sports Betting Bill That Includes 55% Tax Rate

Hawaii Sports Betting Bill
  • Monday, Hawaii State Rep. John Mizuno Introduced a Sports Betting Bill
  • Mizuno’s Bill Would Include a 55% Tax on Revenue, Largest in Rate in Industry
  • With no Gambling in Hawaii, the Potential Sports Betting Revenue Tempting 

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Monday, Hawaii State Rep. John Mizuno Introduced a Sports Betting Bill

The string of islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean known as the state of Hawaii might have nicer weather year-round than the state of Utah does, but what the two do have in common is their total ban of gambling for residents – that’s zero legal casinos, lotteries, bingo, and sports betting.

However, that could soon be shifting in the Aloha State thanks to the sports betting bill State Representative John Mizuno, the vice-speaker of the House, introduced on Monday, called House Bill 1815 (HB 1815), a potential piece of legislation that would allow a sports gambling market to launch throughout the islands of Hawaii.

A similar bill called House Bill 1820 (HB 1820) was also introduced on Monday by Rep. Mizuno, but this piece of legislation would create a single stand-alone casino in Waikiki that may not be located in a hotel, the bill also establishing what it calls a “casino control commission” for the state.

The details will be hashed out in the weeks (maybe months) to come, but one part of the sports betting proposal that stands out is the whopping 55% tax rate on revenue that is being suggested.

Mizuno’s Bill Would Include a 55% Tax on Revenue, Largest in Rate in Industry

Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned PASPA back in May 2018, over half the states in the country have launched some form of a legal sports betting market, and the tax revenues they now receive have made the efforts entirely worth it and now gambling money that had been spent elsewhere is being funneled back home.

Mizuno’s HB 1815 spells it out clearly, saying:

There shall be levied, assessed, and collected a tax of fifty-five per cent on all winnings paid out to any person by a sports wagering provider.  The tax revenues shall be deposited into the sports wagering special fund.

Most states charge tax rates of somewhere between 5% to 20%, whereas New York has charged the highest yet with a 51% tax rate on revenue, so it came as no surprise that the 55% tax rate proposed in Mizuno’s bill turned some heads, as it would become the highest rate in the US.

With no Gambling in Hawaii, the Potential Sports Betting Revenue Tempting

More and more states are coming to terms with the reality that legalized gambling and sports betting is simply regulating an existing black market, and, as HB 1820 explains, a shift in financial thinking must take place in Hawaii as it continues to suffer from the effects of the pandemic:

The legislature finds that thirty years ago, Waikiki was the center of nightly entertainment in Hawaii. There were eight movie theater screens, multiple nightly live musical performances, a host of night clubs, and many other evening activities. Within the past few years, Waikiki has seen the movie theaters, musical performance venues, and night clubs all shut down, leaving Hawaii visitors with very few nighttime activities.

Like alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana, gambling is yet another so-called vice that is impossible to effectively ban or eliminate, so Hawaii and other states might as well regulate and tax all that existing action and use that money to benefit the residents who could use it.

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Mike Lukas

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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]

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