City council advances bill to ban simulated gambling devices

A bill that would make sweepstakes machines illegal on Oahu has passed its first hurdle.

The Honolulu City Council Wednesday unanimously advanced a bill that would prohibit anyone from managing, possessing or using a “simulated gambling device.”

The bill applies to any device that delivers a payoff, either money or a credit for merchandise, with its operation.

The Honolulu Police Department testified in support of the bill, but had some concerns with language. Police have seized hundreds of sweepstakes machines over the last 18 months.

The exclusive distributor of the machines, Prize World, says sweepstakes machines are legal and that people are misinformed about what the machines really do.

Critics also say the bill is too broad and could make childrens’ arcade games illegal.

The bill now heads to a committee.

Click here to read Bill 30 in its entirety.

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