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Preserving Paradise: Banning Hawaiian Gaming. 2005-07-21
Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., has recently blocked a bill that would give native Hawaiians independent status. Ensignís worry is that this legislation could lead to Hawaiians launching a gaming industry that would contend against Nevada casinos, like Native American casinos have.
The senator is working with the Justice Department, bill sponsor Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to prevent this. This doesnít sound very democratic, and yet it is a joined effort from republican and democrats. Competition is the only worrisome issue between Las Vegas, and Hawaiian casinos.
The bill contains an anti-gaming provision. It states, "Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize the Native Hawaiian governing entity to conduct gaming activities under the authority of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act." Ensign said the wording is loose, and can be undermined. Thatís why it isnít so helpful, and thatís why he blocked it.
As part of his legislation, Ensign wants to outline the language used to prevent any Hawaiian group from obtaining land in another state for casino usage. He used the example for his case of the Alaskan Native Corporation that looked for property, for a casino, near Denverís Airport. While it doesnít sound problematic, for some reason mainland Americans feels threatened by this, starting with Ensign.
Despite this Hawaii lawmakers and their aides do not object Ensignís plan. Rep. Ed Case, D-Hawaii is united with the idea. Hawaiian politicians are united with Hawaiian groups against gaming.
Hawaii is one of only two states with no legal forms of gambling, along with the state of Utah. Republican Gov. Linda Lingle met with Ensign in his Capitol Hill office on Tuesday to join him. She as well is an opponent of gaming. She went on to say Hawaiians never were interested in making casinos. However, Hawaii's four Democratic lawmakers and other elected leaders have fought for the bill's passage.
It is unclear what the reasons are for the fight against the bill, by non-Hawaiians, but there is mixed feelings in Hawaii. It seems too many that Hawaii and Alaska are being treated as second class American citizens with the lack of rights, even on gambling. Maybe it isnít fair to say, but legislations hidden reasons could be competition, or because they donít want to disturb paradise. In the interest in politics, it isnít so simple, but legislators arenít revealing their reasons for the ban.
(By Andrea)