Hawaii Gambling Laws – A Legal Overview

February 27, 2023
Hawaii Gambling Laws

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on gambling in Hawaii! If you’re planning a trip to the Aloha State, it’s important to know the ins and outs of the state’s gambling laws and regulations. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Hawaii’s gambling laws, including social gambling laws, illegal gambling games, and legal entertainment activities in the state. We’ll also dive into the topic of online gambling and explore what the Hawaii online gambling laws have to say about playing at online casinos.

But if gambling isn’t your thing, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered there, too. We’ll provide you with some alternative ideas on how to spend your time in Hawaii without gambling.

It’s important to note that Hawaii has strict regulations when it comes to gambling activities, whether they’re on land or at sea. We’ll break down the specifics of these laws and the consequences you may face for breaking them.

We’ve also included a handy table below to help you navigate through the article and find the information you need. So sit back, relax, and let’s explore the world of gambling in Hawaii together!

Hawaii Gambling Laws – Exploring the Ban on Gambling

Is Gambling Legal in Hawaii?

It’s important to know that gambling in Hawaii is illegal since 1959. Hawaii’s legal definition of gambling is “staking or risking something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or uncontrollable future contingent event to receive something of value”. This makes The Aloha State one of the two USA states, besides Utah, banning all kinds of gambling games. Hawaii online gambling laws and gambling on water (ships) laws are also non-existent. It doesn’t matter if you are on land, sea, or in the air; any form of casino or game of chance with a prize can get you in trouble.

Why is Gambling Illegal in Hawaii?

The reasons behind the gambling ban in Hawaii are complex. First and foremost, the local authorities want to preserve Hawaii’s family-friendly and unique status as a top travel destination. The family-oriented culture of the locals is also another reason as they believe that any form of legal gambling will divert people’s time and money away from their families. Additionally, gambling addiction horror stories, where decent people lose all their possessions, family, and friends because of gambling, have added to the resistance against legalizing casinos. The Hawaii Coalition Against Gambling continues to oppose any form of legal gambling in the state.

Casinos Pros & Cons in Hawaii

Despite opposition from the majority of the population in the Aloha State, there are many who advocate for legalized gambling in Hawaii. In the table below, we have listed some of the potential benefits and drawbacks of legalizing casinos in Hawaii.

🌺 Pros for Gambling in Hawaii 🦈 Cons for Gambling in Hawaii 💰 New Money from Casino Revenue 🔥 Destruction of Family Values 🛠️ More Jobs 👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 Loss of Family-Friendly Destination Status 📈 Expanding Economy 🏝️ Loss of Rest & Nature Tourism Status 💸 No Hike in State Taxes 🍖 Against Local Culture & Traditions 🎊 Gambling & Lottery Winning Chance 🌊 Danger of Gambling Addiction 🏖️ More Tourists 🃏 Arrival of Gamblers & Criminals

As you can see, there are potential benefits and drawbacks to legalizing gambling in Hawaii. While the benefits could be financially beneficial to the community and state, the fear of losing Hawaii’s uniqueness and becoming another commercial gambling destination remains a concern for locals. For now, if you wish to gamble in Hawaii, you can try registering at the best US online gambling sites for 2023 or offshore legal online casinos.

Legal and Illegal Games in Hawaii

If you’re wondering what kind of games you can play in Hawaii, the answer is not much. Hawaii has strict laws when it comes to gambling, and only a few games are considered legal in the Aloha State.

Legal Games

According to the Hawaii social gambling law, social gambling is permitted in private residences, but only under the condition that no money stakes or expected prizes are involved. This means that playing poker or other casino games for money in the privacy of your home is illegal. However, there are a few legal entertainment activities you can participate in, such as:

  • Scavenger hunts
  • Treasure hunts
  • Golfing
  • Bowling
  • Video games
  • Board games

Illegal Games

The list of banned games is long, and it’s essential to know which games can get you in trouble. The Hawaii gambling laws are strict and clear, and it’s best to avoid any form of illegal gambling. Here are some of the most popular gambling games that are considered illegal in Hawaii:

  • Slots
  • Video poker
  • Lottery
  • Bingo
  • Scratch cards
  • Horse races
  • Dog races
  • Poker
  • Baccarat
  • Roulette
  • Blackjack
  • Sports betting
  • Daily fantasy sports

Other Illegal Activities

In addition to the illegal games listed above, there are a few other things related to gambling you should avoid in Hawaii. Owning gambling records, gaming equipment, promoting gambling, or any kind of bookmaking is also illegal. Despite the banns, you might be invited to an underground poker game or any other illegal gambling location. We recommend that you avoid them at any cost, or you risk losing all your money, getting injured, or even spending time in jail.

Hawaii’s Online Gambling Laws

Ban on Online Gambling

Hawaii’s gambling laws prohibit the operation of online casinos and gambling sites within the state’s borders. Unlike other US states, Hawaii does not have any tribal lands or reservations, making it impossible to find Native American casinos in the area. The reason behind this is the lack of territorial claims for the land, allowing natives and visitors to build a prosperous family life that benefits the whole community.

Attempts to Legalize Online Gambling

Several bills have been proposed to legalize online gambling in Hawaii, including Senate Bill 677 by Michelle Kidani in 2018. Unfortunately, none of these bills have passed yet. As a passionate gambler who wishes to add online gambling to their Hawaiian vacation, the best option is to look for offshore sites that accept players from Hawaii. If your preferred casino doesn’t operate on US soil, you can check out the best New Jersey gambling sites for your online gambling needs.

Hawaii Gambling Crimes: What You Need to Know

Breaking Hawaii’s gambling laws can have serious consequences. Here’s what you need to know about gambling crimes and penalties in Hawaii.

Criminal Offences

In Hawaii, all gambling activities, including land-based, sea, and online gambling, are illegal. This means that if you participate in any illegal gambling activities, you may be subject to criminal charges.

Investigations and Arrests

If you are caught engaging in illegal gambling activities, the local police will investigate the situation and arrest everyone involved. This includes minors, as there is no legal gambling age in Hawaii.


Penalties for gambling crimes in Hawaii can include jail time, fines, or both. Even if you are just observing the games and not playing, you may still be charged and punished.

Staying Safe

To avoid getting in trouble with the law, it’s important to follow Hawaii’s social gambling law and only participate in social games. If you prefer not to take any risks, it may be best to skip gambling during your Hawaii vacation and visit one of the USA’s top gambling cities on your next trip.

FAQ About Hawaii Gambling Laws

  • Does hawaii have gambling casinos?

    No, Hawaii does not have any casinos or other forms of legalized gambling, including sports betting, horse racing, or dog racing. All forms of gambling are illegal in Hawaii, and there are no tribal lands or reservations that would allow for the operation of Native American casinos like in other states. While there have been attempts to legalize gambling in Hawaii, none have been successful thus far. As a result, visitors to Hawaii will not find any casinos or other gambling establishments within the state’s borders.

  • Does hawaii have legalized gambling?

    No, Hawaii does not have legalized gambling. All forms of gambling, including casinos, sports betting, and lottery, are illegal in the state. The only exception is social gambling, which is permitted in private residences as long as there are no money stakes or expected prizes.

  • Why is gambling illegal in hawaii?

    Gambling is illegal in Hawaii because of the state’s constitution and statutes that prohibit all forms of gambling. The Hawaii Revised Statutes defines gambling as “a bet, or wager, or something of value, upon the outcome of a contest of chance, or a future contingent event not under the person’s control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that the person or someone else will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome.”

    Hawaii’s anti-gambling stance can be traced back to its historical and cultural roots. Native Hawaiians are known for their strong sense of community and shared values, and gambling is seen as a vice that can potentially undermine these values. Additionally, some people believe that legalizing gambling in Hawaii could lead to social problems, such as addiction and increased crime rates. As a result, the state has been resistant to efforts to legalize gambling, including online gambling and casinos.

  • Will hawaii legalize sports betting?

    At the moment, there are no clear indications that Hawaii is on the verge of legalizing sports betting. While there have been attempts to introduce bills to legalize sports betting in the state in recent years, none of them have made significant progress. Additionally, given the state’s historically conservative stance towards gambling, it may be challenging to pass legislation legalizing sports betting in Hawaii in the near future. However, attitudes towards gambling can change, and it is possible that Hawaii may eventually follow other states and legalize sports betting.

Hawaii Gambling Laws
Hawaii Gambling Laws

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