Hawaii is a great place for anything but placing a bet. A bet on anything. It is 100%, completely, no questions asked illegal to place money on an outcome of any game of luck or skill in any form. This state is void of any legal gambling so your next best option is to gamble online at offshore casinos instead.
This, therefore, means, unlike other conservative US states, Hawaii does NOT have a state lottery, does not participate in the Federal lotteries of Mega Million and Powerball, does not allow the collection of slot machines even for the purposes of it being a hobby, prohibits charities and non profit organization from conduction raffles and bingo.
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Hawaii Online Gambling
Local online gambling is illegal and non existent. The gambling laws in Hawaii are clear and ban all forms of gambling including those of online. There are no online casinos, poker, sports betting, bingo or daily fantasy sport.
Not only are all forms of online gambling is illegal, unlike other US States, it is also enforced by the law enforcement agencies. Hawaii has the highest per capita charges for illegal gambling. Although it is mostly operators or bookies who are charged, there have been instances of Players being charged as well.
Hawaii ranks as the 33rd in the US for playing at offshore online casinos. Wagering an estimated $6.2 million per year, it ranks just above New Hampshire and behind Kansas. The state with the largest wagering for offshore online casino is California at $180 million.
The state law stipulates that all forms of gambling is illegal in Hawaii. It is a crime to promote gambling, a crime to conduct gambling and a crime to participate in any gambling in any contest. A contest is defined as a “game, scheme or gaming device where the outcome depends on an element of chance”.
In Hawaii, the laws are so prohibitive that even owning a slot machine with the intention of being a collector is illegal. No slot machine is allowed in anyone’s home, for real money action let alone as a collectors item. Some conservative states will allow collectors to own slot machines that are over a certain age. But Hawaii has completely banned any ownership of slot machine irrespective of age.
Poker, blackjack, craps, baccarat etc, you name it. All table games are illegal. Technically even social games at homes between friends is illegal (Not that I would think that this is strictly policed).
All forms of sports betting is illegal in Hawaii. This includes fantasy sports and eSports.
Hawaii has no state lottery and nor does it participate or allow its residents to play Mega Millions and Powerball.
Hawaii Gambling Experience
Don’t expect to find any form of gambling when travelling to Hawaii. Having said that, I do believe that if you want to organize a social game of poker between friends, I highly doubt that big brother is watching over you and you will be charged with a felony.
What makes the US so great, is that there is a diverse range of laws in each state, and clearly the state of Hawaii’s intent is for visitors travelling to Hawaii is not to gamble but to experience the outdoor and culture that Hawaii has to offer.
A Lawyer’s Opinion
Hawaii is not friendly to gamblers and has some of the most conservative, anti-gambling statutes on its books in the country. Not only are there no land-based casinos, but charitable gambling, race betting, and the lottery are also all prohibited. As can be expected, online gambling fares no better in this island state. See Hawaii Revised Statutes § 712-1220 et seq.
Sports Betting: Sports betting is strictly prohibited in Hawaii, with FanDuel and DraftKings both refusing to accept Hawaii residents after the state’s attorney general issued a formal opinion classing fantasy sports betting as illegal. Individuals who wish to make general sportsbooks may do so only through risky unlicensed offshore platforms. That being said, the state is seeing some legislative movement (albeit unsuccessful) in the area of sports betting.
Race Betting: As no surprise, race betting is also prohibited, and betters who wish to make online racebooks may do so only through risky unlicensed offshore platforms.
Online Gambling: Players who wish to participate in online poker and similar games of skill involving traditional casino-type games may do so only through risky unlicensed offshore platforms as all forms of gambling are illegal for Hawaii residents.
Online Gaming: Skill and social games are permitted so long as no real money is involved, with Zynga, Double Down, and similar sites accepting Hawaii residents.
Disclaimer: The information in this multi-state research is made available by a licensed, U.S. attorney, and is for informational purposes only. We make no representations that the information is complete or correct in its entirety. It should not be construed as providing specific legal advice, and you acknowledge that no attorney/client relationship exists between us. This brief should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed gambling and entertainment lawyer in your state.
Hawaii is the most extreme US state that prohibits gambling. No other US state has such strict laws against gambling, and whether you agree with my opinion or not, this makes Hawaii a very special place. If you are travelling to Hawaii and want to gamble, then reset your expectation or do not go. Hawaii has a lot to offer, but it simply isn’t gambling.