Tyler Gomes, deputy chairman of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, joined Spotlight Hawaii this morning to discuss the proposed casino and resort on DHHL-owned land in Kapolei. Gomes said discussions are underway with lawmakers in both the state House and Senate to introduce legislation that would create a Hawaii gaming commission to oversee and regulate gaming, and to allow for that commission to issue a single license to operate a casino on DHHL land designated for commercial use.
Gomes said DHHL is in need of a sustained and robust revenue source, beyond what the state legislature provides, to help get Native Hawaiians off the waiting list and into homes. Some beneficiaries have been waiting for decades and the list continues to grow. Gomes estimates the proposed casino and resort could generate $30 million a year, which would give the department much needed resources.
“We know that there are people who have been waiting for at least 30 years,” Gomes said. “If we were to continue producing homes and lots at the rate that we currently are, and assuming that no one else joined the waitlist after today, which we know is not going to happen, at rate it would take us 182 years to address the waitlist at the current funding levels.”
Gomes said DHHL will hold community forums in the near future to bring in more public input. He also addressed some of the criticism and concerns about bringing gaming into the state. Watch the video here:
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Spotlight Hawaii, which shines a light on issues affecting Hawaii, airs live 10:30 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Facebook page. Join Ryan Kalei Tsuji and Yunji de Nies this month for a conversation with guests. Click here to watch previous conversations.