Hawaii Looking at Online Poker Tournaments

04 April 2011

There is another state now looking at a possible online poker bill, Hawaii. This bill is different than others making the rounds in California, Florida, Iowa and New Jersey, this bill will include Texas Hold ‘em and Omaha varieties of poker only in tournament style.

This is not an attempt to open casinos or start a lottery and it gets around the states anti-gambling law by defining poker as a game of skill. No slot machines or table games just poker tournaments that will be played live or online.

State lawmakers are already seeing tourism taking a deep cut due to the tsunami in Japan and see poker tournaments as a way to bring in extra revenue. Running a tournament will still be a hefty expense however, if you want to run one it will cost $100 million to buy a license and then there are annual fees to keep it.

State Representative Angus McKelvey, (D) Lahaina, Kapalua, Kihei likes it to the World Series of Poker tournament where you “bring a tournament of professional players here on a semi regular basis, you get free marketing by way of the television shots of the tournament and it fills the hotel rooms.”

McKelvey went on to say, “Part two is the internet game to game, you have people from around the world competing against each other. They’re not physically in Hawaii, the only thing in Hawaii is a giant computer server sitting in a warehouse somewhere.”

Full Tilt Poker has said it already has an office in Honolulu and people in place to be up and running immediately if the bill passes. So what are the chances of online poker in Hawaii? “Very slim. I wouldn’t be, no pun intended, putting any cards down on the bill right now but at least we had the discussion,” according to McKelvey.

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