Is There Gambling In Hawaii

Is Online Gambling Legal in the State Of Hawaii?

Of all the States, only Hawaii and Utah have such comprehensive anti-gambling legislation. In the Island State, only social poker games where nobody makes a profit (not even from selling beverages) are allowed. That is it, no casinos, no charity gambling, no lottery and no sports. This article explains the Hawaii gambling laws (or rather anti-gambling laws) in detail.

There are 8 main islands in HI: Niihau, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe, Maui, Hawaii Island and Oahu. There is no gaming establishment within the territory of HI. Known around the world for its idyllic beaches and its warm temperatures. Hawaii features also some amazing landscapes and volcanoes.

Are There Casinos In Maui

Why Are There No Casinos In Hawaii! There are harrahs casino north kansas city missouri 38 in why are there no casinos in hawaii Washington state alone, 25 Aug 2016 Outside, Indian casinos have proven among the biggest of those economic engines.! Normandie Casino Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Penticton Casino Entertainment. Hawaii is currently one of two states (Utah) that has no option to do any gambling at all in the United States. Hawaii's gambling laws may ban land-based gambling, but they are not actually making it a crime to gamble online, as far as we can tell.

First up below, a quick-fire overview of the history of gambling in this State can be found. This consists of heavyweight legislation and many busts. Next a game-by-game guide, which covers the specifics of what you can’t do. After that a legislative timeline can be found, including the key passages from the statute books. Finally, I have summarized the key points – and then speculated on how gambling in Hawaii might look in the future.

Chumba Casino Hawaii – Sweepstakes Casino Option

Chumba Casino is available in Hawaii and gives players the chance to play online casino games for real cash prizes.

Is there legalized gambling in hawaii

Hawaii Gambling Laws – A Brief History

This State was formed in 1959 – and gambling has been against the law ever since. In pre-State colony days, there was a horse-racing scene, and I am sure many bets were laid on the black market on those races. These declined and stopped in the 1940’s and efforts to legislate have met with no success since.

Periodically, headlines scream of big busts of just about every kind of gambling you can think of. These include a ‘Lottery Queen’, a major indicted in connection gambling extortion, a sports-betting ring getting busted and the seizure of gambling machines. If nothing else this shows that there is still a significant appetite among Hawaiians for gambling, even if their government shows no signs of budging on the legal perspective.

Most recently, there have been bills introduced in 2010 and 2012 requesting that a study be done into setting up a casino and the regulation of online poker respectively. These caused a stir in the media – but did not get far through the legislative process before being killed off.

Is There Gambling In Hawaii

Hawaii Gambling Laws – An Overview of Which Gambling Games Are Legal

Casino Games: No, like most forms of gambling, this is strictly against the law in Hawaii – the closest legal US casino by distance would be in the State of California.

Online Casinos: No, online gambling is covered by the broad definition of what constitutes a gambling game in this State. Basically any game with a chance element, and some risk / reward, even if skill can materially affect the outcome.

Live Poker: Yes, you can play poker socially in Hawaii. There are strict rules surrounding social poker games. No profit can be taken by any house or individual organizer. This extends to profiting by selling food or beverages, which rules out pub leagues which are popular even in conservative States like Utah where poker is also social-only.

Online Poker: No, there have been some recent bills which would regulate online poker games – though these have not made it far through the legislative process before being killed off.

Sports Betting: No, there are no racetracks or pari-mutuel betting machines. Hawaii has a rich history of horse racing, starting in the 1800’s and continuing until the end of the 1940’s when this died out.

Lottery Betting: No, this is one of the few states which does not have a lottery nor participate in any inter-State lottery programs.

Bingo Games: No, there are not even any provisions for charitable raffle or bingo gambling in Hawaii.

Hawaii Gambling Laws – Timeline of Key Statutes

The main gambling provisions have remained largely unchanged since the State joined the US in 1959. Unlike in other States, any amendments have strengthened the anti-gambling rules – rather than allowed certain types of gambling to occur. Like many legal definitions, the ones Hawaii uses is broad enough to make sure that fans of any particular game can’t say that they are not covered. Here are the key pieces:

First their broad definition of gambling:

[su_quote cite=”Chapter 712-1220″ url=””]A person engages in gambling if he stakes or risks something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under his control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that he or someone else will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome.[/su_quote]

Then, just in case you were about to play the ‘skill game’ card, their definition of a Game of Chance puts that one to bed:

[su_quote]”Contest of chance” means 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.[/su_quote]

There is no getting around it, even the definition of a gambling device (also illegal) is broad enough to cover just about anything.

There have been some recent attempts at legislation for gambling, though to date these have been killed off very early in the legislative process and have not gotten to committee – let alone had the opportunity to be put to the popular vote. Here are some examples:

1959: A bill is introduced to bring back Horse Racing via a track on the island of Maui, this did not pass the house of representatives.

2010: Separate bills to investigate the setup of a committee to oversee an investigation into the viability of casino gambling and a proposal to set up a State lottery. Neither bill made it as far as the floor.

2012: A bill (number 2242) requesting the setup of another committee, this time to look into the regulation of online poker is submitted – again, it is killed off before there is a chance of a serious debate.

Talk of yet more bills periodically gets the poker press excited. Experienced commentators suggest otherwise, that the opposition to gambling is strong enough in the Island State to ensure keep the status-quo for the foreseeable future.

Hawaii Gambling Laws – Summary and a Look into The Future

Along with Utah, this is the strictest anti-gambling State of all, with only social poker games allowed for residents. One thing to bear in mind is that individual participants in gambling games are rarely affected by the regular busts and crack-downs – which are aimed at the organizers and profiteers. Residents wishing to gamble at offshore operators may be breaking the law in the strict sense, though they are doing so with minimal risk of being personally prosecuted. Please take legal advice before making your own decision on whether to play online poker at offshore sites from Hawaii.

The most likely future scenario for Hawaii is no change. If there is an (unlikely) drop off in tourism income then change might be possible – at the moment this State appears very happy with the current no-gambling situation.

Useful Resources:

State Laws

Wiki History (mentions horse racing)

State legislature › Blog › The Harsh Laws on Illegal Gambling in Hawaii

The definition of the word “gambling” is being challenged in Hawaii right now as the operators of an arcade chain called Winner'z Zone respond to a cease-and-desist letter from a Honolulu prosecutor. Attorney Keith Kaneshiro warned the company in his letter that the chain would be charged with illegal gambling if they don't remove all Products Direct Sweepstakes machines from the premises.

Gambling is illegal in Hawaii, including casino activity, sports betting, and lottery. According to Kaneshiro, the gaming machines in question are not the innocent arcade games Winner'z Zone proclaims them to be; they're illegal gambling machines.

How Products Direct Machines Work

A Products Direct machine accepts money from patrons. In exchange, patrons play a game on the machine, receive coupons for products available on the Internet, and are entered into a sweepstakes. Different gaming choices are available, including a video poker option. In Hawaii, however, machines with the video poker option have already been prohibited by the Honolulu Liquor Commission.

Prosecutor Kaneshiro argues that all of the sweepstakes machines, not just the video poker ones, are illegal because they offer games of chance and cash prizes. In the eyes of Kaneshiro, a gaming scenario with these variables constitutes gambling. Winner'z Zone representatives disagree with Kaneshiro's definition of a “game of chance for money.” They maintain that their gaming machines provide innocent arcade fun and nothing more.

Until now, other Products Direct machines were deemed acceptable in the state. Greg Nishioka, a representative from the Liquor Commission, announced in 2012 that Products Direct games would continue to be legal until law enforcement stated otherwise. At the same time, he acknowledged the controversial nature of the games.

Sweepstakes Payouts

The Products Direct machines have never been regulated by the government, meaning the Liquor Commission never required businesses to report sweepstakes payout data to them. Anecdotal reports indicate that payouts run the gamut from $75 to $5,000. There have also been whispers of under-the-table video poker offerings in some Hawaii establishments, although Nishioka maintains that he and his staff are 'constantly on the lookout' for such foul play.

Winner'z Zone: 'Stunned' by Accusations

Winner'z Zone representative Ruth Limtiako said her company was 'stunned' by the accusations and that their business model has always been to 'operate within the law.' As such, the company is now seeking legal advice on the matter. No matter what the outcome of this particular case, the dubious nature of how gambling is defined by different entities has definitely been brought to light by this issue.


Other Hawaii Businesses Targeted

As of May 12, authorities had expanded their gambling witch hunt. Winner'z Zone is just one of approximately 70 Hawaii businesses under fire for their use of questionable machines. A cease-and-desist letter sent to Tracy Yoshimura, owner of an arcade called Prize World, stated that the Honolulu police were aware of the illegal activities taking place in Yoshimura's business. The letter specifically admonished Prize World's use of Products Direct machines, Panikka Coupon kiosks, Fish Hunter games, coin-pusher games, pull-tab dispenser games, and many more.

Kaneshiro told the press that the cease-and-desist letter received by Prize World was not intended for public eyes. The prosecutor said the letter was a private warning, and that the business would have a chance to dispose of the illegal machines before mandatory shutdown. Yoshimura was one of nine indicted earlier this month on charges of racketeering, money laundering, and promoting illegal gambling. The indictment was a sealed one provided by an Oahu grand jury, but attorney Keith Kiuchi has already come forward to claim Yoshimura and others as his clients.

Kiuchi told the press that at least one of his clients had attempted to get legal clearance from the Attorney General's office before opening an arcade business. At the time his client's business plan was presented to the Attorney General, Kiuchi said that the legality of the machines was not clarified.

The Definition of 'Gambling'

Different entities define the term gambling in different ways. According to the Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario, it is a 'deliberate effort to stake valuables . . . on how some event happens to turn out.' The aforementioned machines at Winner'z Zone involve the staking of money in exchange for a shot at gaining Internet coupons and possibly winning a sweepstakes. Whether or not 'possibly winning a sweepstakes' is the same as staking valuables on the outcome of an event is unclear.

Here is a look at how other well-respected entities define the word:

  • The online Oxford Dictionary says that playing 'games of chance for money' is the true definition of the gambling.
  • The American Gaming Association differentiates between 'gaming' and 'gambling.' The former term dates back to the 1500s, predating the latter term by almost 300 years. According the the AGA, gaming is the 'action or habit' of playing a game of chance for a stake. The term 'gambling' historically has a more derogatory connotation, implying out-of-control players who wager over-the-top stakes. By 1987, the two terms became interchangeable, according to the AGA.
  • In an attempt at comedy, the Urban Online Dictionary defines gambling as 'The surest way of getting nothing from something.'

Poker: Not Necessarily Gambling

In the age-old struggle to define the word 'gambling,' some have argued that poker is not gambling because it is a game of skill, not chance. In 2012, a back-room game of poker on Staten Island resulted in the arrest of Lawrence DiCristina, the man responsible for the clandestine game. A judge by the name of Jack Weinstein threw out the case, arguing that the gaming operator wasn't in violation of any laws because poker is not technically gambling.

An appeals court later reversed Judge Weinstein's decision, and DiCristina was convicted of a crime. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison. Interestingly, Weinstein will be the one responsible for DiCristina's sentencing.

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Are There Gambling Casinos In Hawaii


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Is There Gambling In Hawaii

Is There Gambling In Hawaii