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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hawaii gamblers can no longer write off their Vegas losses under new law

Advertiser Staff

A new bill, signed into law this month by Gov. Linda Lingle, could give pause to thousands of residents of Hawaii who flock to the casinos of Las Vegas.

The law means Hawaiçi gamblers can no longer write off their Vegas gambling losses as they’ve done in the past.
State representative Pono Chong, D-49th (Maunawili, Olomana, Enchanted Lake) introduced the measure earlier this year as a way of bringing in additional revenue at a time when the state is “undergoing a significant and possibly protracted economic downturn in tandem with the national and global economic and financial crises.”
Chong said Hawaiçi is one of only two states where gambling is not permitted. The previous statute that allowed wagering losses against wagering income for the purpose of state income tax “in effect subsidizes the other 48 states that do allow gambling.”
The Department of Taxation, which supported the bill, has said it’s unclear how much the law could bring into the state. However, if it is assumed the gambling losses remain at the $5 million level currently claimed, the revenue gain could be $300,000 a year, according to a department statement.
The new law is retroactive to January of this year, said Russell Pang, spokesman for the governor.