Hawaiian policemen swooped down on different illegal card
rooms and underground slot parlors in the island paradise, rounding up 35
people involved in illegal gambling.
KITV4 reported that law enforcement agencies have stepped up
the enforcement of gambling laws in Hawaii, one of two remaining US states that
bans all forms of gambling.
At least 35 people were arrested as police cracked down on
illegal gambling dens in Oahu. Police said the raid was just an opening salvo.
“Game rooms affect people of all ages and social economic
levels. We sometimes hear people say that gambling is harmless form of
entertainment, however we know that game rooms are often the hubs of illegal
activity such as drug dealing, robberies, assaults and homicides have been
associated with game rooms,” said Major Larry Lawson of Honolulu Police
District’s (HPD) criminal investigation division, according to the news report.
Prior to the raids, Lawson said that police had already
warned an estimated 100 illegal card rooms and underground slots parlors to
cease operations or experience the full force of the law.
Now that they are through scouring the urban Honolulu area
between Kalihi and Waialae, police will target illegal gambling parlors
island-wide in the months to come.
Illegal gambling raids are not new in Hawaii. In 2012,
authorities arrested at least nine persons playing poker inside a residential
house. Police slapped the host with charges of second degree gambling promotion
and possession of a gambling device.
Interestingly, the raids were conducted at a time when
Hawaii is once again toying with the idea of allowing gambling.
State Sen Will Espero has introduced a 28-page bill seeking
to create the Hawaii Internet Lottery and Gaming Corporation.
In a nutshell, Espero’s bill aims to legalize internet
lottery, casino games, and poker. The proceeds collected from these games would
go to public schools, the University of Hawaii system, and programs to address