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Hawaii should build a casino in Las Vegas


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POSTED: Sunday, January 25, 2009

In these difficult economic times, state lawmakers are once again making goo-goo eyes at legalizing gambling in Hawaii.

Legalizing gambling is the default position legislators assume during hard times as a way to wring a little more money out of the state's citizens. (A proposal by one legislator would limit gambling to out-of-state visitors, but I believe that would violate several parts of the U.S. Constitution, including the right to pursue happiness, straight flushes, slot-machine jackpots and keno if all those pastimes are to be had in the state where you live.)

The problem with the gambling industry is that it preys on the weaknesses of society's most vulnerable subjects, people who believe that stuffing quarters into an electronically rigged machine with lots of bright lights and loud bells actually is a prudent financial investment. The gambling industry, or GAMING industry as it is laughingly called by easily amused casino owners, is the only industry in the country devoted to separating you from every dollar you possess while delivering no tangible product or service.

The point here—a point I've made before—is that Hawaii should get into the business of separating losers from their wallets, but we should take their money without them actually coming to Hawaii. The state of Hawaii should build its own government-owned casino in the only place where losers flock to be fleeced: Las Vegas. Why ruin the lives of Hawaii residents by allowing gambling in our state when we can make millions soaking the residents of Nevada?

Now, that doesn't mean that the islands' most pathetic degenerate gamblers won't be able to hand over their hard-earned cash to Hawaii's state general fund; they'll just have to go to Las Vegas to do it.

As I've pointed out before, Vegas already has a “;New York! New York!”; hotel and casino. Wouldn't a “;Hawaii! Hawaii!”; hotel and casino financed by Hawaii taxpayers be even better? In a sense, island residents would become co-owners of a casino. We'd be the ones profiting from the weaknesses of society's most vulnerable subjects. How cool is that?

If lawmakers had listened to me before, we wouldn't have that big vacant building at the entrance to Waikiki today. Had we built the Hawai'i Convention Center in Las Vegas as I suggested, it would be full of drunken, partying widget salesmen right now, making the state millions of dollars. Instead, our convention center sits as empty as a politician's promise, because the price of widgets has gone into the Dumpster and widget salesmen can't afford the airfare to Hawaii. (When was the last time YOU bought a widget?)

We blew it by not building the Hawai'i Convention Center in Las Vegas. We can't afford to make the same mistake again. The state Legislature should pass a law and the governor should sign it, legalizing gambling for Hawaii, as long as all the gambling takes place somewhere else.