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Gambling in Hawaii

Gambling in Hawaii is one of the trickiest things to do as it has arguably the most restrictive gambling laws in all of the United States. It is only bested by the stringent gambling laws in Utah. There are no land-based casinos in Hawaii, and the state does not permit any form of gambling whatsoever. This statement, unfortunately, means that there are no online casinos in Hawaii. The state has outlawed all forms of gambling to the point where social gambling is illegal.

This means that under the current regulations, no lottery games are permitted, betting of any kind be it on horses or sports. The closest form of recourse that gamblers in Hawaii have to these gambling rules is to board on two cruise ships that run a casino lounge on international waters out of Honolulu. Aside from that, players visit online casino sites licensed with offshore gaming commissions to enjoy the latest internet casino games.

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Where to Gamble in Hawaii?

  • Casinos in Hawaii: There are no gambling machines permitted to operate in Hawaii. That goes for any betting game that allows players to stake on sports events.
  • Hawaii Gambling Age: With no recognized form of gambling in the state, there is no established minimum age for players to gamble.
  • Legal Bodies in Hawaii: Authorities of Hawaii handle the rulings of new approaches to legalizing gambling in Hawaii.
  • Sports Betting in Hawaii: The only record of sports gambling in Hawaii after racetracks were closed was daily fantasy sports sites that were operated in mainland Hawaii. They were operational up until 2016 when Attorney General Doug Chin cracked down on the fantasy sports, branding them as illegal.
  • State-Owned Lottery Games: There gambling ban extends towards lottery games on the island. People that want to bet on lotto games can travel to the mainland and buy a lottery ticket but any winnings accrued from the lotto game will be taxed.

Hawaii Gambling Laws

The gambling laws in the island state forbids all forms of gambling. The laws go as far as banning any forms of charitable gambling hosted by churches. The last time there was a push to legalize casino gambling in resorts was back in 2010. As one of the most recognized tourist destinations in America, a lot of patrons that would enjoy gambling were open to the changing of the bill. As soon as there seems to be any headway in the gambling regulations, a flurry of Hawaii officials, lawmakers, and lobby groups contest the legalization of gambling in Hawaii.

The legal definition of what gambling is in Hawaii is expanded to include every contest of chance where people risk money on the outcome of future events. The letter of the law speaks on staking on events in order to receive (win) something of value as illegal in Hawaii. Since most states in the US have anti-gambling legislation, casino operators opt to position their gaming machines on ships. There is also a section that covers that section in which it reads:

Gambling on Ships: Gambling aboard ships is illegal. Possession of gambling devices, e.g. slot machines, illegal.”

In the past, Hawaii casinos were perceived to take tourist’s money that would otherwise be spent to boost the local economy of Hawaii. This influenced the decision to ban all forms of commercial gambling devices, including casino slot machine games.

Hawaii Casinos

Types of Live Hawaii Gambling

The closest form of gambling that can be found in Hawaii is social poker games. Even in that, people that participate in the festivities are not allowed to make a profit. Hawaii online poker laws allow pubs to host poker tournaments with the stipulation that there are no buy-ins to participate in the game. The statute that covers social gambling states that any entity, be it a homeowner or an organizer that hosts the social gambling game must not make any profit from the event. This stipulation involves the selling of drinks or food as beverages when playing the game.

There are no state-owned or private lottery games, you cannot gamble on sports games, or even play bingo in Hawaii. The law has gone as far as to outlaw gambling on cruise ships while visiting the Island State. Gamblers with the inclination to gamble will have to travel to neighbouring islands and locations that have legal gambling venues. This includes the Northern Mariana Islands where you’d have to visit the gambling facilities on the island of Saipan. San Jose also offers gambling options on the island of Tinian and cruise ships. Here is a list of laws that regulate Hawaii online poker:

Title of the BillYearLawmakerSupportedOpposition
Senate Bill 6772017Michelle KidaniMaile ShimabukuroMajority of the Hawaiian Senate
Senate Bill 2042017Michelle KidaniBrickwood GaluteriaMajority of the Hawaiian Senate
House Bill 8552017Will EsperoGilbert Keith-AgaranMajority of the Hawaiian House

 

History of Gambling

The Hawaii State was formed in 1959 and in the past, gambling was not outlawed. The history of horse racing in Hawaii dates back in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The Hawaiian royalty enjoyed horse racing a lot, however, the state soon put an end into the rich tradition by the 1950s. In today’s climate, there are no horse racing tracks still operating from the glory days of when King Kalakaua regulated horse racing in Hawaii.

The Hawaii gambling laws ensured that there were no racetracks or any pari-mutuel betting machines that players could play in today’s Hawaii circuit. Hawaii gambling following the enactment of the ban into law was conducted on the black-market races remains debatable.

Casino Gambling FAQ

Is social gambling legal in Hawaii?

Social gambling in Hawaii is permitted only under strict guidelines that it is not conducted anywhere in a public place, a hotel or bar, motel, nightclub, or any other kind of business establishment. Players that take part in the social game must all be of age and profit cannot be made from the festivities.

Is poker legal in Hawaii?

Poker in Hawaii is considered gambling and therefore not allowed. The only legal poker game is only permitted for social gambling cases. Gamblers in Hawaii have often elected to visit offshore online poker rooms to play the card game for real money.

Why is gambling illegal in Hawaii?

The Island State has banished all forms of gambling to protect players from potential gambling harm. The population of Hawaii including the tourists that visit the island are supposed to spend their money on goods and services that contribute to the economy of the state. These motives remain the foremost pertinent reasons for lawmakers advocating for gambling to be banned in Hawaii.

Is sports gambling legal in Hawaii?

Daily fantasy sports are not even legal. The decision to ban fantasy sports was taken back in January 2016 when a prosecutor issued cease-and-desist orders to DraftKings and FanDuel not to operate in the region.

Does Honolulu have a casino?

Honolulu does not have any gambling establishment in or around the city. It is prohibited by law and gamblers will board on cruise ships that stop by Honolulu and sail to international waters to play casino games.

Is online gambling illegal in Hawaii?

According to the gambling laws in Hawaii; all forms of casino gambling are prohibited, this includes web-based gambling games. Players have chosen to sign up at offshore casino sites to enjoy their favorite games online.

Other state gambling guides: