When you think of Hawaii, chances are that gambling does not come to mind. There’s a reason for this. There is absolutely no gambling presence in the Aloha State. This does not mean however that there is nobody in Hawaii with an appetite for responsible gambling entertainment. In fact, surveys conducted with popular online gambling providers indicated that a noticeable portion of their customer base is comprised of gamblers from Hawaii. The providers surveyed included online sportsbooks, indicating that residents and visitors in this island paradise are indeed interested in legally sanctioned online sports betting opportunities.
So how does someone in Hawaii access legal sports betting options when every form of state regulated gambling other than social poker games is prohibited by law? That is the very question that this guide was designed to answer. We have created this website to serve as a valuable resource that provides insight into the legal status of sports betting in Hawaii. This page will also discuss how state and federal laws impact the opportunities that are available to Hawaiians interested in betting on sports. We provide direction on how to access online sportsbooks that are licensed to provide their betting lines to gamblers in Hawaii and that are operating legally within the industry.
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Is Online Sports Betting Legal In Hawaii?
The only form of state approved betting in Hawaii is limited to social poker games. These poker games are permitted, but must comply with a lengthy list of requirements in order to qualify as legal. Despite the restrictions that the state places on gambling entertainment, residents of the Aloha State and tourists who are visiting do have some viable options available to them for enjoying legitimately licensed sports betting options. Because of the state’s draconian gambling laws, most people interested in gambling assume that their range of options ends at the state’s borders. Thankfully this is not true.
Lets start by discussing the bad news. Hawaii’s gambling laws leave no wiggle room when it comes to state regulated gambling. Other than social poker, there are no forms of approved gambling in the state. There are also two US federal laws that govern the nation’s sports betting activities. The first is the Federal Wire Act, which prohibits US based online sportsbook gambling throughout the United States. It should be noted that Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii has co-sponsored a bill that has come to be known as the Restoration of America’s Wire Act. His efforts seek to make all forms of US based online gambling illegal. The bill has been introduced but has not been pushed forward as of yet.
The second federal law that is relevant to the situation is known as PASPA or the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. This law deals with brick and mortar bookmaker businesses, prohibiting the licensing of these types of betting services across the country with the exception of four specific states, including Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana. The law's constitutionality has recently been challenged by the state of New Jersey, and several individuals in leadership roles with US professional sports leagues have called for changes to the law in favor of legalizing US based sportsbook gambling opportunities. Nothing has come of these demonstrations of opposition to PASPA as of yet.
What you must understand is that there are no provisions within Hawaii’s gambling laws that make it a crime to bet on sports online at licensed and regulated offshore spotsbooks that accept Hawaiian customers. The same can be said of both PASPA and the Federal Wire Act. Both of those laws prohibit US based sports betting activities, and have no bearing on international online sportsbooks that are licensed outside of the United States. These sportsbooks can legally offer their betting services to gamblers around the world, including those in Hawaii. Sports fans in Hawaii can bet on sports at these legally sanctioned online destinations without violating state or federal laws.
How the Federal Government's Laws Tie In with Hawaii
There are two primary federal laws that govern sports betting throughout the land. The first is the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). This law was enacted in 1991 and prohibits state licensed sports betting across the country with the exception of four states: Delaware, Nevada, Montana and Oregon. The second law that applies to sports betting in the US is the Federal Wire Act, which prohibits state licensed online sports betting. These two laws combined ensure that there is no opportunity for the US based sports betting industry to expand either online or offline.
Like state gambling laws, these federal laws do not prohibit US players from participating in offshore sports betting as long as it takes place at a licensed and regulated destination that is based outside of the US. These laws do not affect or apply to these offshore businesses, so the US is not able to have a say in how they conduct their business or who their customers are.
The last law that affects online sports betting is the UIGEA. This law simply places regulations regarding how gambling related transactions can be processed at US based gambling destinations. The law targets online gambling site operators and payment processors, and does not address players in any way. The UIGEA legislation is responsible for those instances where US gamblers have a problem using their credit cards to fund their online gambling accounts. Most quality payment processors and sportsbooks have learned to operate in conjunction with this law and offer US friendly deposit methods, including the ones we feature on this page. This law does not prohibit players from enjoying online gambling.
Gambling Culture In Hawaii
As discussed above, you pretty much have zero gambling options in Hawaii. For starters, they don't offer any type of racetracks. Even states where gambling is really held to be both illegal and immoral, like in West Virginia, the state still has tribal lands that offer casinos and state-regulated racetracks. But Hawaii has neither. They don't offer horse racing, dog racing, or any slots; heck, you probably cannot even find any backroom fruit machines in a smoky pool hall somewhere. The biggest issue here isn't that the state cracks down on gambling. It's just that Hawaii's culture is not about gambling. Although they have been heavily influenced by American mainland culture for decades now, gambling has just never stuck for the state. Instead, Hawaii is about pig roasts and surfing and taking it easy on the beach with a sweet mixed drink. The things that bring people to Hawaii are obviously 180 degrees different from the things that bring people to a place like Las Vegas, and so Hawaii doesn't even pretend like gambling is part of their culture. When they want to fund pet projects, schools, etc, they rely on other means to raise the money. They don't fall back on state lotteries and suchlike to fill their coffers.
In many ways, it's very commendable that Hawaii hasn't "sold out," as it were, to adopt gambling for the sake of quick profits. Though on the flip side of that coin, it makes the state seem very antiquated and regressive. The fact that they don't any casinos in operation despite being a tourist area says a lot about the overall culture of the state. And the fact that Hawaii has no plans to change tells you everything you need to know about the state's attitude toward gambling. It's not something that native Hawaiians want on their island, and it's not something the state government will be allowing to take root any time soon. For the foreseeable future, Hawaii will remain a land where your US online sports betting entertainment will have to be done via the offshore sites. .
Sports Teams To Root For In Hawaii
Who needs gambling in Hawaii when you have all of those sports teams, right? Well, wait a minute...Hawaii doesn't have a lot of those either. You can find a few teams to root for in the state, but overall Hawaii's selection of sports is pretty thin. The National Football League actually has a large presence in Hawaii. Every year for a few decades now, the NFL sends it star players to Hawaii to participate in the Pro Bowl, and players have a real blast here. They surf, they catch rays, and they enjoy the island culture of the state. And many of them end up staying a lot longer than the game lasts and end up spending their summers in Hawaii. The Pro Bowl games are always packed to the rafters, and Hawaiians seem to really have a special place for the NFL and football in general. However, Hawaii doesn't have a professional team in the National Football League. Nor do they have an NBA team, or an MLB team, or MLS or NHL team. Basically, Hawaii doesn't have any professional sporting franchises. And even some of the semi-pro and D-league teams they have had over the years are now defunct. Is it that Hawaii's market simply isn't set up to support a sports team? We say that it's because Hawaii has just never had the right team try to take root on the islands. With the right team in the right situation, Hawaii could easily become one of the biggest markets in the nation.
Hawaii does have a very popular collegiate football team, the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. This is a Division 1 team in the Mountain West conference, which means they play teams like Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, California State, UNM, and Utah State. Though while they are a D1 team, Hawaii isn't typically a top-25 team. Their strength of schedule pales in comparison to that of a power-five conference team from the SEC or Big Ten or ACC. Hawaii's conference is considered second rate in college football, and the odds of seeing the Rainbow Warriors in a National Championship game are slim to none. Even still, the 50,000-seat Aloha stadium is packed for most home games, which means that Hawaiians definitely appreciate their University football program.
Why Hawaii Could Use a Big Franchise
The National Football League has an extremely large presence around the world. For the past few years, they have been packing in over a hundred thousand spectators with games in England, and they do this by sending mediocre teams overseas to play. Even still, the British love watching American football, much more so than Americans enjoy British football (soccer). This has prompted the NFL to begin negotiations for an NFL expansion team in the UK. But why go all the way over there when they could put a team in Hawaii? Much of Hawaii's culture is already influenced by the NFL. The Pro Bowl isn't rated that highly per television ratings, as it falls right in with playoff and Super Bowl season, but it's a huge economic boon for the state of Hawaii. Having the Pro Bowl on the island is the biggest annual event, bringing in millions in revenue from vendors, tourism dollars, etc. They already have a great stadium. They already have the infrastructure to handle an NFL franchise. Now all they need is an NFL team to make a permanent move to the island state. What is the hold up here?
We can foresee a very popular team, the Hawaii Islanders, playing in the NFL as an expansion franchise with Seattle, San Fran, St. Louis and Arizona. The NFL expansion UK team could add symmetry by becoming an AFC East team, alongside the Giants, Redskins, Cowboys and Eagles. Jumping up to 34 teams could bode very well for the league, and Hawaii having a football team might start to change their attitudes about gambling in the state. It's not something that would happen overnight, but as Hawaii witnessed firsthand the benefits of sports betting, they might decide that a waterfront casino resort is something that would benefit the state tremendously.
Hawaii getting an NFL franchise may be wishful thinking. And the state might not be going the casino route anytime in the near future. But just because you live in Hawaii doesn't mean that you don't have real money US sports gambling options available to you. As long as you can find a good gambling website offering its services to US players, you can sign up and bet on sports just like anyone else. Hawaii cannot stop you from doing this. You are free to bet on the sports you love. Just try to be responsible when gambling. And of course make sure you are playing with the most reputable sites. We have a page on which US friendly online sportsbooks are the most trusted.