Hawaii Casinos and Gambling

Short Summary: Hawaii is the second most restrictive state when it comes to its gaming laws.  The only state that is more restrictive is Utah, and that’s because they went out of their way to specifically outlaw Internet Gaming, even though the verbiage of the law already had that covered.  Hawaii has no specifically legalized and regulated form of gambling whatsoever.

If you are looking for land casinos in Hawaii, find the water, pick a direction and start swimming.

Better yet, maybe take a boat or fly to Las Vegas. The California, known to residents of The Aloha State as, “The Cal,” in Downtown Paradise is basically known as a place that draws many Hawaiians through the doors.

I will now list all of the forms of gambling that are legalized and regulated in your state:


Nothing is legal. No casinos. NO lottery. No charitable gambling. No social gambling. No bingo. No tribal casinos because there are no tribes. Nothing.

You do have two casino cruise ships that sail into International waters out of Honolulu, so I suppose that is slightly better than having to travel all the way to the mainland, but it’s bad and I am sorry.

It’s only surprising to me because the state is so beautiful and it is already a tremendous tourist destination. I can only imagine how many tourists, both from within the United States and foreigners would take Hawaii over Las Vegas in a heartbeat if Honolulu just had one or two casinos. The only people I can think of who do not want to vacation in Hawaii either love gambling or look like I do with my shirt off.

Online Gambling Legality In Hawaii

A cursory reading of 712-1220 (4) & (5) will show:

4) “Gambling. 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. Gambling does not include bona fide business transactions valid under the law of contracts, including but not limited to contracts for the purchase or sale at a future date of securities or commodities, and agreements to compensate for loss caused by the happening of chance, including but not limited to contracts of indemnity or guaranty and life, health, or accident insurance.”

(5) “Gambling device means any device, machine, paraphernalia, or equipment that is used or usable in the playing phases of any gambling activity, whether that activity consists of gambling between persons or gambling by a person involving the playing of a machine.”

Anything related to the gambling laws would seem to apply both to the player as well as anyone acting as an operator. The good news is that gambling is a petty misdemeanor.

There have been cases in Hawaii in which illegal gambling apparatuses have been seized and arrests made, but all of these incidents have had to do with some type of physical location gambling taking place.

From what we can tell, no player has ever been arrested, fined or punished in anyway for gambling online from his/her own home, and as with other states, we do not believe that will ever happen. If it’s one of the three days a year that your weather isn’t absolutely gorgeous and you want to fire up the computer and visit one of the many online casinos out there, you should be fine.

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Casinos “in Hawaii”

There are two casino cruise ships that both depart from Honolulu at appointed times, sail a few miles out until they are constituted to be in international waters and then open all of the games up for players. When the gambling day is done, they shut everything down and sail back in.

The first of these is the Carnival Legend Casino, which sails out daily and features 125 gaming machines and fourteen table games. If you’re from the area or are vacationing in Hawaii and have a desperate compulsion to gamble, any port in a storm, we suppose. Players should be warned that these sorts of casinos are essentially not at all regulated, by anybody, and almost Universally have terrible returns on the machines and some of the worst table rules possible. There are rare exceptions, but you should expect the rules to be bad. The slots will probably be the lowest return that the manufacturer even produces on the games.

The other one is the Norwegian Cruise Lines Pride of Hawaii. Hawaii is an absolutely gorgeous place with a storied history, but if you ask Norwegian Cruise Lines, their little casino cruise ship is Hawaii’s, “Pride,” apparently. This casino has a wide variety of Table Games and apparently a few more slots than the other.

Slot Machines and Table Games

Not only are slot machines illegal to play anywhere in Hawaii, it’s illegal to own one. You aren’t allowed to have one in your home or anywhere else for entertainment or any other purpose.

Some states allow you to own a slot machine if it’s collectable and/or antique. Usually, a machine has to be at least 25 years old to qualify in these states. Hawaii doesn’t allow antique slot machines either.

Other states that prohibit all slot machine ownership include Connecticut, Nebraska, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Table games like blackjack and craps are also outlawed anywhere in Hawaii.

Hawaii Sports Betting

Any type of sports betting or wagering is illegal in Hawaii. You can probably find people to place a “friendly” wager with but in doing so you are technically breaking the law.

Though I haven’t been to Hawaii, I’m sure there are some office pools run for the NCAA basketball tournament just like in every other state and country around the world. But these also are illegal so be very careful before taking part, even if everyone else seems to be doing it.

Lottery in Hawaii

44 states have some sort of state lottery and many states participate in the Powerball and Mega Millions. Hawaii not only doesn’t participate in the Mega Millions or Powerball, they also don’t have a state lottery.

One of the main theories about why there isn’t a lottery in Hawaii is because of the complete ban on any type of wagering the state doesn’t feel there’s any competition. If people aren’t spending their money on other lotteries or forms of gambling the state doesn’t need to run a lottery to make sure they get their fair share of the profits.

Poker in Hawaii

You can’t legally participate in a poker game in Hawaii so there aren’t any legal poker rooms.

Home games are supposedly available, but unlike in some parts of the United States, these games are also illegal. While law enforcement usually has more important things to do than look to bust a home poker game, the law is clear. Playing poker, even in your own home, in Hawaii is illegal

Pari Mutuel Racing in Hawaii

Pari-Mutuel racing is usually associated with horse and/or dog racing. The difference between most forms of gambling and pari-mutuel racing is when you’re gambling in most games you play against the house. In a pari-mutuel event, all of the money wagered is collected, a small percentage is kept by the track, and the rest is paid out to the winning bettors.

Horse racing is the one gambling area where you may see a form of legalized gaming in Hawaii eventually. But don’t count on it happening any time soon.

Hawaii had horse racing until some time in the 1950’s and there’re thousands of horses on the islands.

In most years there’s at least one suggested law supporting horse racing introduced in the legislature. So far these proposals have been defeated so you still can’t legally wager on a dog or horse race in Hawaii.


Your gambling situation sucks, let’s be honest here, but you have plenty of options at your disposal if you wish to gamble online and should have nothing to worry about if you choose to do so. We don’t think you’ll be getting gambling in your state anytime soon, and honestly, we’re surprised that your state Legislators ever leave the beach.

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If you are planning to visit Hawaii and want to play a few casino games, poker, or even pick up a lottery ticket, you need to play before you go. Hawaii is one of the few places in the United States where there isn’t any form of legal gambling.