Saturday, June 19, 1999

Gambling opponent
encouraged by report;
backers shrug it off

Star-Bulletin staff


A local anti-gambling coalition praised many of the recommendations made by the National Gambling Impact Study Commission yesterday.

The commission called for a moratorium on new gambling, a ban on college-sports betting, a prohibition against wagering on the Internet and a nationwide minimum gambling age of 21.

"It's encouraging to see that the commission ... acknowledged what we've known here in Hawaii for a long time," said Dorothy M. Bobilin, chairwoman of the Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling.

State Rep. Joe Souki, a longtime proponent of gambling, said he has no problem with any of the proposed limits. "There should certainly be a control on (gambling industry) contributions to the Legislature," Souki said. He commented, however, that there will always be ways for groups to get around any such laws.

Another vocal proponent, attorney Michael Jay Green, said regarding the report: "It's a lot to do about nothing. It pacifies some of the people against gambling, but the overall effect is nothing."

Green had appeared on cable television panel discussions on gambling and represented a travel agency with tours to Las Vegas.

"The elimination of taking bets on NCAA games is stupid," Green added. "It's done illegally in all states, except Nevada where it's legal."

Hawaii, Utah and Tennessee are the only three states with no legalized gambling.

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