Will Hawaii Legalize Online Betting as New Jersey and other States?

Hawaii has the strictest gambling laws in the entire United States. Not a single form of gambling, including even daily fantasy sports, is currently legal in the Aloha State. This makes Hawaii the only country, outside of Nevada, without any type of gambling allowed. The state does not have any brick-and-mortar casino facilities nor does it permit legal online betting.

Offshore sites

The lack of a regulated gambling market thus keeps the niche heavyweights such as bet365 USA away from Hawaii. The only possible way for the local residents who’d fancy placing wagers on their favorite professional and college teams is to go for offshore sites. However, these gambling hubs are very tricky due to the lack of integrity.

Offshore operators can simply decide to close operations without paying customers’ funds back at all. They can also select not to pay out someone’s winnings given that nobody has the power to control them in such non-regulated circumstances.

Revenue losses

However, although the players are by no means protected, they still decide to take the needed risk and place bets at these shady sites. They simply have no choice. This is where the Aloha State suffer enormous losses every single year. The Hawaiian residents generate tens of millions of dollars in online gambling revenues, but the state does not claim even a piece of that cake. Everything goes to the offshore operators. On top of that, illegal gambling operations have been discovered within Hawaii as well.

Unsuccessful attempts

The Hawaiian lawmakers have tried to propose gambling-friendly bills for years but without success. One of the first attempts came in 2013 when the lawmakers pushed for the establishment of a Hawaii Internet Lottery and Gaming Corporation. Nevertheless, the bill was instantly refused.

The most recent bills, SB 2571 and HB 1107 faced the same destiny in 2019 and 2024 respectively. The former was pushed for the creation of a task force to examine to what extent would the state benefit from a legalized online gambling in terms of cash revenue. The latter was supposed to form Hawaii Sports Wagering Corporation, a body meant to oversee and regulate sports betting within the state borders. Both proposals were promptly shut down in their respective committees.

The most popular sports in Hawaii

Unlike New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Colorado, or the vast majority of other US states, Hawaii does not have a single professional sports team. Nevertheless, it does not necessarily mean that the Hawaiian residents do not like sports. The aforementioned revenue numbers generated by the offshore gambling sites prove the opposite. Football is by far the most popular sport among the local population. After all, the Aloha State is home to a team featuring a Division I FBS college football program.

It will be very interesting to follow for how long the local lawmakers will be able to resist the temptation of embracing legal gambling. Judging by the success the industry has recently achieved in other states across the country, we would not be surprised to see major steps in this area in the years to come.

Can I get arrested if I bet in Hawaii?

The answer to this question interests many people. The good news is that you will not be arrested, as the bans relate to illegal betting, which is carried out without a state license. On the other hand, access to online casinos and bookmakers that legally operate abroad is allowed. So, you are not breaking any law and there is no need to fear arrest.

When can we expect domestic online sports betting and casinos?

It’s hard to say when that could happen. Considering Hawaii doesn’t support gambling, retail sports betting is a bit too big right now.

What are my legal betting options in Hawaii?

Just as there are no legal bookmakers and casinos in this country, so there is no legal betting. However, many online bookmakers claim that they are allowed to accept bets from all over the USA, including Hawaii. Unfortunately, this is not always true because no bookmaker is licensed. Because approvals are enforced at the state level, many operators operate without a license. In other words, it can very easily happen that they don’t pay you when you win.

Hawaiian lawmakers have unveiled four new bills that could change the way video games containing loot boxes are purchased and sold in the state of Hawaii.

Three years ago, a lot of dust was raised about the “predatory practice” of loot boxes, which is why many countries began to investigate the question of whether their implementation in video games is a form of gambling. Among the many critics of microtransactions, Hawaii stood out in particular, recently presenting a bill to regulate the sale of video games containing loot boxes.

According to a report by the Hawaiian daily – Hawaii Tribune-Herald – there are four different bills, the first of which, House Bill 2686 and Senate Bill 3024, advocates banning the sale of video games with loot boxes to people under 21 – the current minimum age for legal gambling in the state. House Bill 2727 and Senate Bill 3025, on the other hand, require publishers to visibly indicate that their title contains microtransactions as follows:

Warning: This product contains in-game purchases and gambling mechanisms that can be harmful and addictive.

MP Chris Lee, who presented the bills to protect young people from “psychological manipulation”, said that he grew up playing video games and that he “experienced first-hand the evolution of the industry from one that seeks to create new things to one that began to exploit people, especially children, to increase their profits”.

Of course, nothing is official yet as the state government needs to vote on these proposals first before they become law, and the question of whether loot boxes should be regulated as gambling has not yet been debated.

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