Our US online gambling regulation roundup takes a quick look at what has been happening in the early weeks of 2017, and where it is likely to lead.
Hawaii has some of the strictest laws in the United States when it comes to poker and gambling in general. All forms of gambling in Hawaii are illegal. This has not stopped many people Hawaii from signing up at online poker sites. The need for cash in the state of Hawaii has prompted several attempts at legalizing online poker, but thus far these attempts have failed.
Can Players From Hawaii Play Real Money Poker Online?
Yes! Online poker rooms that are taking players from the United States welcome players from Hawaii to play poker online for real money. Some states have actually banned online poker, and their users are unable to sign up at online poker sites. This is not the case for the residents in Hawaii. They have not passed any official legislation making online poker illegal to date.
Is it Legal to Play Online Poker in Hawaii?
The general consensus on the legality of playing online poker in Hawaii is that it is probably not legal. No gambling is legal in the state of Hawaii, and we are assuming that this applies to online gambling as well. Some might say that poker is different because it is not a game of chance, but Hawaii actually does consider poker a game of chance, at least partially, and therefore deems it illegal according to their laws.
We have some quick facts about online gambling in Hawaii below:
- Hawaii defines gambling as
any bet of something of value upon a contest of chance
- Hawaii goes on to clarify that a contest of chance is any contest, game, gaming scheme, or gaming device in which the outcome depends in a material degree upon an element of chance, notwithstanding that skill of the contestants may also be a factor therein
- No gambling is legal in Hawaii
- Hawaii considers the act of engaging in gambling a misdemeanor offense
- Hawaii does allow some social gambling, but with very strict guidelines
- To date, no person in Hawaii has been charged with a crime for gambling online
Hawaii has a long list of laws pertaining to gambling. The statutes are very clear, and the state is not ready for gambling to be legalized. Hawaii and Utah are the only 2 states in the United States that do not have some sort of legalized gambling. Some people from Hawaii have been trying to change this over the past few years, but every measure to legalize gambling has been shot down thus far.
Hawaii Gambling History
Horse racing has a rich history in Hawaii. There was a time in the late 1800s and early 1900s that you could find racing tracks on several of the islands. Horse racing was very popular among the wealthy in Hawaii. This all changed by the 1950s. The people of Hawaii did not want gambling in their state, and they fought for laws against it. The horse tracks were shut down.
Many people fought to bring back horse racing in the area. In 1959, a bill was proposed to allow horse racing in Hawaii, but it failed in the House of Representatives. 
Almost every year a new proposal to legalize some sort of gambling is presented in Hawaii. These proposals very rarely make it past the committees they have to go through before they can end up on the ballot. Hawaii is in need of added revenue, and many of the residents and some of the government think that legalizing some sorts of gambling would add revenue to their state. On the other hand, many from Hawaii do not think that legalizing gambling is the answer to money problems.
Many people from Hawaii love to gamble. With no options for gambling in the islands of Hawaii, the people often travel to Las Vegas to gamble. The people that want to legalize gambling in Hawaii argue that they are losing money because their own residents are traveling to other states to gamble. This has been a battle in Hawaii for almost a century, and we are guessing that it will continue throughout the years. 
Hawaii has recently tried to make a move to classify poker as a game of skill instead of a game of chance. In 2011, legislation was presented that would change poker to a game of skill and allow online poker in the state. This legislation stalled out and never made it anywhere. There was also a bill represented in 2012 to allow a land based casino, but this didn’t make it very far either. So far, every attempt to legalize any type of gambling has failed.
Legalized Gambling Options in Hawaii
There is currently no legalized gambling in Hawaii. Every year more bills are introduced to try to change this, but to date every effort to legalize any type of gambling in Hawaii has failed.
Hawaii Online Poker & Gambling Related News
The Future of Online Gambling in Hawaii
The chances of online gambling being legalized in Hawaii are slim at this point. At this point Hawaii’s only hope for some sort of legislation lies in Senator Daniel Akaka. He is very interested in online gambling. Many think that he will support federal legislation to legalized online poker if it is presented. However, even if the federal government legalizes online gambling, Hawaii will have the option to opt out of the legislation. Many feel that Hawaii will opt out of any legislation to legalize online gambling.