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An Associated Press story on Aug. 25 commented on what it saw as an infectious gambling disease in Hawai‘i. The following excerpt ran in hundreds of news services across the globe—from the China Post to The Washington Post to the Guardian United in the United Kingdom.

An ocean away from the nearest casino, bingo parlor or horse track, Hawai‘i residents still find ways to place bets and play games of chance.

And despite a ban, gambling addiction here is as widespread as in other U.S. states.

Families are torn apart, causing financial ruin and spawning violent crime. Now, online gambling is only making it worse, according to experts and addicts themselves.

Some say the problem in Hawai‘i is worse because gambling is widely and culturally accepted and laws against it are seldom enforced. Although the state spends millions annually on drug and alcohol prevention and treatment, there are no government programs dedicated to helping problem gamblers.

“In Hawai‘i, it’s sort of like: see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil,” said Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling. “They're ignoring a substantial problem in their midst, apparently because they want to pretend that since it is illegal, no one does it and no one gets in trouble.”

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Honolulu Magazine September 2018
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