Hawaii Legal Poker Sites

Hawaii StateI would argue that Hawaii beats Utah and Georgia to the position of least gambling friendly of all the States. Not only is just about all forms of gambling banned here (only social poker games where nobody profits are allowed), it is extremely hard for residents to find a legal game nearby! At least in Utah people can get to Nevada quickly and GA residents can enjoy the Florida Poker rooms. The closest legal casino poker game to Hawaii is in California, 5 hours flight away.

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This page gives you all the information you need to know covering poker in the State of Hawaii on one page. First of all, live casino poker games are discussed, or rather the complete lack of them. After that the only available format is covered – social home games. I have also explained why bar leagues are not possible under Hawaiian law. Next online poker games are covered, along with speculation on whether regulation is possible here. At the end of the page you will find the wording covering poker from the Hawaiian Statutes, along with a big picture summary of the state of play for poker fans here.

Live Poker Games In Hawaii

There are no casinos or poker rooms on any of the Hawaiian Islands. The idea of opening a casino to take advantage of tourist dollars has been raised in the HI government, though this has not made it to a vote. As things stand the closest legal poker rooms are in California, more than 2400 miles away.

Social Poker – Are Home Games Legal In Hawaii?

Home games are the only legal form of poker in Hawaii. The rules for hosting these games are very strict, with nobody able to make a profit from the games in any way at all. This includes selling beverages to the people in the games – which effectively excludes social bar leagues from this State.

There are regular busts and big headlines coming from them where people try and run for-profit underground poker games in this State. There are not even any charity poker tournaments in Hawaii.

Online Poker Games In Hawaii

As you might imagine, a State which does not have a single casino, bar league or even charity poker night is not the most likely candidate to regulate online poker games. As in most States, there is no specific anti-internet wording in the Statute books – this is assumed by the enforcement-happy authorities here to be adequately covered by the general ban on all gambling activity.

Some offshore poker sites, that operate from offshore locations (mostly in the Caribbean), still welcome players from Hawaii. These internet poker rooms are legal in their own countries, and they argue that they are free to accept customers from any country under international free trade laws. Deposits and withdrawals do require extra effort, however tens of thousands of US citizens enjoy the cash games and tournaments at these sites every week. Remember, from a legal perspective, if you play at an offshore poker site from Hawaii, this is done at your own risk.

Given the general background and attitude towards any form of gambling, the chances that Hawaii will regulate online poker are extremely remote. It looks like this State would be left behind even if most of the others were showing healthy revenue for their State coffers from legal internet poker.

What Do The Hawaii Gambling Statutes Say?

The Hawaii laws are a little more complicated than in some States, requiring you to cross-reference different definitions. These have remained the same since they were written in 1959, and are broad enough to cover just about every possible type of gambling you can think of. It might look as if the ‘poker is a skill game’ can apply when you first see the main definition of illegal gambling. Unfortunately this does not work, with the ‘contest of chance’ definition including those games where there is an element of skill involved.

Here are the key excerpts from the Hawaii Statute books, fort the definition of gambling and then the definition of a contest of chance – both from Section 71, 1220:

…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…

…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…

Hawaii Poker – Summing It Up

At least if you live in Utah, you can get to the Nevada border within 2 hours drive from Salt Lake City. With Hawaii, not only are you in the least gambling friendly State of all, you are also isolated from any legal games. The only silver lining is that social home games are permitted here, as long as nobody makes a profit from the game in any conceivable way.

Online regulation is a big ‘no’ for this State – though some of the offshore sites will accept players from HI.