HONOLULU — Honolulu’s top prosecutor says Oahu won’t tolerate illegal gambling, and he will work with state officials and police to seize sweepstakes machines.
Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro said his investigation is continuing after a grand jury indictment of nine people on charges of gambling promotion, racketeering and other crimes, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Tuesday.
“We will remove the machines, and we will also forfeit property,” Kaneshiro said.
Keith Kiuchi, a lawyer for most of the people charged, said he plans to appeal a federal ruling used as the basis for the indictment.
Five people were arrested Thursday, including Tracy Yoshimura, the owner of PJY Enterprises, the company that distributed the machines in Hawaii. Two others were arrested Monday, while two more were on the U.S. mainland and expected to be arrested when they come back to Honolulu, Kaneshiro said.
U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi ruled last week that the Products Direct Sweepstakes machines were used in a way that constituted gambling.
“We are very strong in our opinion that there are errors in her order,” Kiuchi said.
People used the machines by buying coupons for goods sold online that also gave them a shot at winning cash prizes in the machines. Kobayashi said in her order it is clear people cared more about winning the money than the coupons.
Hawaii and Utah are the only U.S. states without any forms of legalized gambling.
Kaneshiro said he plans to enforce the law as long as gambling is illegal in the state.