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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, February 5, 2002

Swift end to gambling debate a smart move

Nothing is for certain at the Legislature until the day of final adjournment.

But from all appearances, it would seem that the push for legalized gambling in Hawai'i is dead for this year. A key House committee has voted unanimously to kill both casino gambling bills before the Legislature this year.

That means that even if the Senate revives the idea, it will likely receive a cold reception in the House.

The only possibility is that gambling could become a pawn in the House-Senate horsetrading that traditionally wraps up a session.

What is impressive is that lawmakers gave both sides of the gambling argument a fair and thorough hearing over the weekend and then made a swift and sure decision. This is far preferable to the option of keeping the issue alive as an endless distraction.

It's a good bet that proponents of gambling will be back again next year. Unless they can come up with arguments for their plan that are far more compelling than what we heard this year, it is tough to see anything other than the same outcome.