House lawmakers advance gambling measure
Bill clarifies gambling laws to cover 'sweepstakes' machines
A year ago, KITV4 News raised a flag about new gaming devices that were popping up in bars and arcades around Oahu.
Not long after community complaints surfaced about the Product Direct Sweepstakes machines, city prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro and Honolulu police took action.
Law enforcement agents raided half a dozen Winner'z Zone storefronts last fall.
Seventy-seven confiscated machines are now evidence in a six-month long gambling probe.
There were no arrests, but attorneys for the distributor sued over the seizure, maintaining the machines are perfectly legal.
Opponents argue the devices are no different from McDonald's Monopoly Games or Readers Digest Sweepstakes.
But is it black and white--gambling or not?
Because there is enough of a grey area, several lawmakers moved to try and remove any ambiguity.
"The Honolulu Police Department believes the laws are adequate and they are going to win the case which is in federal court, but as an abundance of caution we just want to tighten it up and that as what the bill did today," said Rep. Karl Rhoads.
The Judiciary committee chairman advanced a bill tightening up the definition of what constitutes a gambling device.
"I represent Chinatown and there are establishments where people have said to me, 'Hey, they are gambling. They are games of chance, and they can win things," said Rhoads.
Tweaking the bill and tweaking the law in hopes of closing what some see as a loophole.
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