The Honolulu City Council advanced Wednesday a bill that would make simulated gambling devices illegal on Oahu.
Bill 30 passed a second reading in an 8-1 vote. Four councilmembers voted yes with reservations.
The advancement comes in spite of some testimony against the bill that said the proposed law would hurt businesses with other types of video games.
“Although the intent is to stop gambling in Hawaii,” said one opponent, “it will also shut down all the family fun entertainment centers out there. Why do good people and families who enjoy these places have to suffer such a thing?”
Bill sponsor Joey Manahan said the intent of Bill 30 is to shut down only gaming parlors that feature sweepstakes machines and similar devices that constitute gambling.
Those who testified in favor of the bill said it will help clean up their neighborhood because the machines attract trouble in the area.
“Before that room was there, our street was quiet, was very peaceful,” said one supporter. “It was a safe area for residents to walk around in the community, day and night, Now, our residents do not want to come outside.”
Manahan said the bill is a work in progress and will likely go through some changes when it’s discussed in a future committee meeting.
The bill will be scheduled for a third and final public hearing in June. If it passes the council, it could become law shortly thereafter with Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s approval.