New law bans gambling write-offs

Colin Hazama
Colin Hazama
Liz Ho
Liz Ho
Chessa DeCambra
Chessa DeCambra
Elsie Hummel
Elsie Hummel

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Hawaii residents hoping to hit it big in Las Vegas are now taking a bigger risk.  A new state law means you can no longer claim your sin city losses.

The legislation is another cost-cutting measure by the state.

Governor Linda Lingle signed it into law this month and that's bad news for big gamblers. Combined, state gambling losses average around $5 million each year. And now with no tax credit, what happens in Vegas, really does stay in Vegas.

"It's like Hawaii's second home," said Honolulu Resident Colin Hazama.

"I like the slots because I don't have to think," said Honolulu Resident Liz Ho.

"I like the shows," said Honolulu Resident Caryn Nowak.

"The nightlife, the atmosphere, the restaurants," said Hazama.

"You can go out and party with your friends," said Honolulu Resident Chessa DeCambra.

"The lights, the shows, the shopping," said Honolulu Resident Elsie Hummel.

Often called Hawaii's ninth island, sin city is a big attraction for the aloha state. Popular for people and their pocketbooks.

"Some people spend $10,000 to $15,000," said Hazama.

While some win, for others that amounts to big losses. Before, being able to claim that on your taxes was like a safety net.

"You're hoping to do well there, if you don't, you want to be able to account for that," said DeCambra.

With gambling loss write-offs no longer in the cards, the Hawaii Department of Taxation says the state could save up to $300,00 a year. Some favor the fiscal move.

"That's the chance you take," said Ho.

Others don't.

"I think it would make a bigger deal for families," said Hazama.

"It doesn't seem like it's that much money. It probably makes a bigger difference for people who can claim their losses," said DeCambra.

Losses that will now hit your pocket deeper, depending on where your luck lands.

Hawaii is one of two states in the country that bans gambling and while locals say they'll continue to visit Las Vegas, the new law may help them limit how much they bet now. It was recently passed, but the legislation applies to all gambling this year