Out of all states in the US, Hawaii, Washington, and Utah are the only ones that outlaw all forms of gambling. They even prohibit bingo for charitable purposes. The definition of gambling Hawaii’s law is as follows — “betting something of value on a contest of chance.” The Aloha state’s government considers gambling to be a misdemeanor offense.
Since there aren’t any brick-and-mortar casinos, a lot of Hawaiian citizens decide to breach the law and play in either offshore casinos or underground gambling establishments. We strongly recommend that you avoid both.
This article is an in-depth overview of the gambling laws in Hawaii and covers the specifics of what you can and can’t do regarding gambling. The article will also guide you through all forms of gambling that are legal in the state today, as well as provide a comprehensive overview of the state’s most important laws.
Back in 1778 when Captain James Cook discovered Hawaii, gambling was a popular way to relax among the Aloha state’s citizens during the Makahiki festival. Residents were able to wager on different contests and games from October to February. Even those who didn’t participate in competitions could wager on their outcome.
However, as the festival lost its popularity over the years, in the 1800s the Christian missionaries banned gambling based on ethical grounds. In August 1825, Hawaii’s native chiefs had a meeting and decided to forbid theft, vice, gambling, and violation of the Sabbath.
The Aloha state is a gambling-free zone ever since it joined the United States in 1959. Not even charitable bingo or horse racing are permitted based on the premise that if domestic legislators enabled gambling that would damage the local economy. This state is one of a couple of states that don’t approve a state lottery. To this day, the bills created to change this weren’t approved.
The local authorities believe that the Aloha state shouldn’t try to battle Las Vegas and Atlantic City dominance in land-based gambling. This is because if they were to introduce brick-and-mortar casinos, this would only damage the domestic companies since they would have to compete with gambling establishments over the tourists’ spending.
Hawaii’s principal gambling provisions didn’t change for the most part ever since Hawaii joined the United States in 1959. The Aloha state is widely different from other States since its amendments have actually reinforced the anti-gambling laws instead of permitting particular forms of gambling.
Like the majority of other law definitions, the ones the Aloha state utilizes are wide enough to ensure that gambling enthusiasts of any specific game can’t state that they weren’t included. According to Chapter 712-1220, Hawaii’s legal definition of gambling is as follows:
“A citizen engages in gambling if they risk or stake something of value upon the result of a future contingent or a game of luck not under their influence or control, upon an understanding or contract that they or another person will gain something of value in the case of a particular outcome.”
There were some attempts in the recent past to legalize gambling. However, they ended very early in the law-making activity and hadn’t even arrived at the committee level, let alone had the chance to be placed at the popular vote. Some of the more notable examples include:
Possible new bills frequently rouse the gambling press, but veteran industry commentators speak of something different — that those opposing gambling are powerful enough in the Aloha state to make sure that the current situation won’t change in the near future.
Even today, Hawaii, Washington, and Utah represent the most rigorous anti-gambling States in the US, with the first permitting only social poker games for its citizens. You should keep in mind that those merely participating in gambling are scarcely touched by the frequent crackdowns and busts. This is because busts and crackdowns target profiteers and organizers, rather than those merely enjoying gambling. If you want to gamble in offshore casinos, you could be breaching the law in its strictest sense, but you’re doing so with the slightest risk of the government persecuting you personally. However, you should take legal advice from a Hawaiian lawyer before deciding whether to play online casino games in offshore casinos from Hawaii.
For now, it seems that the future scenario of the island state’s gambling landscape is one of no change. The only way for something to change would be an improbable loss of tourism income. At the moment, the Aloha state seems to be very content with the current zero gambling situation.
As we said, the Island State’s gambling legislature is rigorous, meaning it forbids any kind of gambling. In other words, you can’t gamble anywhere, including that on ships as well as in gambling establishments of any kind. Not even dog or horse races are allowed. Although social gambling is allowed, it must not be played in a:
Even though you can enjoy social poker in the island state, there exist harsh rules that surround it. For starters, those who organize them can’t profit from being their host. The legislature even says that the one hosting them can’t make money from selling food or beverages.
Not a single form of casino table games, including online poker, is permitted in the Aloha state. While the state’s gambling landscape will change a bit in the future, it’s highly improbable that the legalization of online poker would occur any time soon. With this in mind, any Hawaiian citizen should enjoy private poker games instead of breaching the law by playing online.
Even though Hawaii doesn’t explicitly prohibit online gambling, the overall legislative situation is rigorous and broad enough to include any kind of online gambling activity. If you were caught gambling in the Aloha state you could be fined up to $2,000 or go to jail for a year. Although particular legislative exceptions exist regarding social gambling, online gamblers can’t exploit them.
Even states that directly prohibit brick-and-mortar casinos don’t forbid Indian tribes that are present there to open gambling establishments based on the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. However, this isn’t the case for Hawaii. Since Hawaii doesn’t have any federally recognized Indian tribes, no such gambling can exist.
No, as Hawaii is one of the strictest states regarding gambling.
For now, the answer is no. Hawaii doesn’t even take part in multi-state games like Mega Millions and Powerball, so its citizens can’t purchase any lottery tickets.
Zero, since gambling isn’t allowed in the Aloha state.
Unfortunately, any kind of gambling is illegal in Hawaii. However you can play at offshore online casinos instead.
The island state’s minimum gambling age is 18. However, Hawaii’s residents can only join social gambling or legally sanctioned offshore casinos.