Legalized gambling, including casinos and a lottery, is back on the legislative agenda in Hawaii

Legalized gambling is back on the legislative agenda in Hawaii.

According to the state’s KITV ABC-TV affiliate, state Sen. Malama Solomon has introduced a bill that would authorize a state Department of Business and Economic Development study of whether Hawaii should join an existing multi-state lottery.

Marcus Oshiro, chairman of the House Finance Committee, said casinos will also be considered. “This might be the right opportunity,” he said. “We haven't had a real serious discussion for several years, so I think we will have the discussion.”

Polls have shown most residents favor limited gaming, but with Hawaii one of only two states with complete gambling bans, the opposition to legalization, from human service agencies, churches and law enforcement, has been fierce.

The new governor, Neil Abercrombie, is not an opponent, as was his predecessor, Linda Lingle, but he told KITV it is a complicated issue that cannot be resolved quickly enough to address Hawaii’s current financial problems and could distract from more realistic solutions.

“It’s so complicated. It’s so long term. It’s so detailed it doesn’t do us any good in the short run,” he said.