As the executive vice president of U.S. Digital Gaming, Melissa Riahei is focused on the opportunities offered by online poker. Riahei has made it a priority to advocate for the legalization of online poker in Hawaii. She has spent the last week visiting lawmakers in Hawaii to discuss potential ideas for legalizing the industry.
U.S. Digital is a California based company, but sees a potentially strong market in the state of Hawaii. As she speaks with lawmakers in Honolulu, Riahei is determined to convince them of the benefits of legalizing online poker.
Although regulating the industry in Hawaii would create a great market for U.S. Digital and other gaming companies, Riahei is centering her selling points on the benefits to the state itself. She has pointed out that legalizing online poker could bring in substantial tax revenues to the state. These revenues could be used to fund essential services for the state.
Riahei completed a power point presentation to lawmakers. This presentation showed that by the end of the first year, the state would retain $2.5 million in profits from legalizing online poker. After five years, the state would be accumulating nearly $80 million in revenue.
Riahei is telling lawmakers about the different proposals of other states across the country. She is discussing the reasons other states are considering regulating online poker and why Hawaii should consider doing the same.
However, lawmakers in Hawaii share the concerns of many of their colleagues in other states. Many are concerned that legalizing online poker would create a number of potential problems for the state. Many bills have been proposed to legalize other forms of gambling in recent years, but they have failed to make their way through the state house.
Sen. Kim has supported idea to place video and slot machines in the state. However, even Kim has concerns over allowing gambling to take place across the Internet.
The state of Hawaii faces a number of financial problems. However, lawmakers haven’t budged on their position not to support gambling. Nevertheless, Riahei continues to move forward with her presentations and hopes she can encourage politicians to look towards online gambling as a new source of revenue and the advantages it can provide for Hawaii’s citizens.