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Advocates of Hawaiian Casinos Spent Big on Lobbying

3 April 2002

HAWAII -- April, 2, 2002 -- As reported by the Honolulu Advertiser: ``Mainland investors who want to open two casinos on O'ahu spent more money touting their agenda before lawmakers at the start of this legislative session than any other group, state Ethics Commission records show.

``Marketing Resource Group, of Lansing, Mich., reported spending $108,679 on lobbying through January and February, the period covered by lobbyist expenditure reports due at the commission yesterday.

``The company is a public relations firm employed by investors in a Detroit casino called MotorCity, and last year set up an organization of supporters here called Holomua Hawai'i, named after the Hawaiian word for progress.

``...But others said they fear gambling could increase crime and corruption, and lawmakers roundly rejected a bill that would authorize the casinos, leaving it very unlikely that the state will legalize gambling this year.

``Marketing Resource Group could also be fined for failing to disclose its lobbying activities to the Ethics Commission for the previous reporting period, from May to December.

``...Another group that wants to legalize gambling, the Coalition for Economic Diversity, reported spending $9,832 lobbying during the previous period and said it spent less than $10,000 in January and February.

``The group is backed by Sun International Hotels Ltd., which wants to build a $1 billion resort and casino at Ko Olina in Leeward O'ahu..."

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