Hawaii Pol wants to ban Nevada casinos from advertising in his state

Posted on: Jan 30, 2023 06:14 am.

Last updated on: January 30, 2023 06:14.

Las Vegas is often referred to as the “Ninth Island,” underscoring Hawaiians’ fondness for visiting Sin City, but newly proposed laws would ban Nevada gaming companies from advertising in the island state.

Ban Nevada casinos
A campaign endorsement for Hawaii State Senator Stanley Chang. The Democrat wants to ban casinos in Nevada from advertising in the state. (Image: Twitter)

Senate Bill 935 (SB 935), recently introduced by Sen. Stanley Chang (D), proposes a ban on advertising Nevada gambling interests in Hawaii and fines for violations of the law.

Advertisements for Nevada hotels, resorts, or other recreational services that promote Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC)-licensed casinos or gaming devices may not be broadcast, televised, marketed in printed publications or displays, distributed online, or otherwise electronically Ways are communicated by the state,” the proposed law says.

SB 935 also proposes a general excise tax on businesses that advertise casino-related vacation packages and gaming equipment in the Aloha State. Chang’s bill doesn’t specifically mention the Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Authority (LVVCA), which is a frequent national advertiser.

Nevada Casino Ban Bill mentions Boyd Gaming

While the LVVCA is not mentioned in SB 935, the bill directly relates to Boyd Gaming, which has a long history of entertaining Hawaiian tourists.

Boyd’s properties in downtown Las Vegas are so popular with visitors from the island nation that the company laid off nearly 300 employees in October 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic, citing weak tourism from Hawaii and elsewhere.

“Hawaiian residents make an estimated three hundred thousand trips to Las Vegas and other gambling destinations each year, with many residents making multiple trips per year,” Chang noted in SB 935. “Additionally, in a 2021 annual investor report, Boyd Gaming highlighted that customers from the Hawaiian market accounted for more than half of the room nights sold at The California, Fremont and Main Street Station and that spending in the Hawaiian market is declining could adversely affect their business and financial condition.”

In January 2022, a guest from Hawaii won $1.1 million playing a Wheel of Fortune slot machine at the Fremont. Boyd’s ties to Hawaii run deep enough that his rewards program is linked to Hawaiian Airlines’ frequent flyer offering.

The Nevada casino advertising ban comes as no surprise

Hawaii’s attempts to ban casino operators in Nevada from advertising in the state is not surprising. In fact, it aligns with other movements seen in the Aloha State.

For example, recently introduced sports betting legislation in the islands would ban big-name mainland operators like BetMGM, DraftKings and FandDuel from entering Hawaii in order to focus economic benefits on local businesses.

That legislation faces an uphill battle as Hawaii is one of only two states – Utah being the other – that does not have any form of legalized wagering, including a lottery. Previous efforts to introduce regulated wagering, regardless of form, all died in the Hawaii legislature.