- Hawaii is currently one of two states that outlaws all forms of gambling including betting on horse racing, lotteries, and casino gaming.
- The Hawaii sports betting bill would create a task force agency to study the feasibility of legalizing gambling on sports in the state.
HONOLULU – While it may come as a surprise to tourists that come to visit the state, residents and natives are firmly aware of Hawaii’s anti-gambling laws. However, as states start to legalize sports betting on the mainland, potential profits are on the mind of state legislators in both of Hawaii chambers.
The Hawaii sports betting bill, HCR 109 wouldn’t necessarily legalize gambling on sports in the state, but instead create a task force to measure out the feasibility of the activity if it were to be allowed.
Earlier this month, the bill was passed by the State House and referred to the Senate’s Government Operations Committee and to the Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health Committee.
While the committees have yet to give their final word on the issue, many are hopeful that by passing this bill the Aloha State will take the necessary first steps to enact a new amenity for tourists and natives alike.
Gambling in Hawaii
The addition of sports betting would be monumental for the state’s gaming industry, due to the fact that it would be the only form of gambling that is permitted.
As of now, Hawaii does not have a state-commissioned lottery, off-track betting sites, casinos, bingo halls or any other venue or form of gambling. The only types of bets that are allowed are social bets that must be conducted in a public place and money is only traded between individuals with no house-take.
The state’s gambling laws even go as far as to outlaw gambling on cruise ships that are in Hawaii’s waters.
The stance mainly comes from the state’s culture and view on gambling. Hawaii is an expensive place to live and visit due to the high cost of exporting goods.
However, some believe that the state is missing out on millions of dollars by not having gaming establishments as an option for tourists. HCR 109 even goes as far as to mention that Hawaii residents are already involved in sports wagering through online betting sites.
The legislature will adjourn on May 2, 2019, so if they want to take the first step in exploring how legalized sports betting can affect the state’s economy, then they will have to pass this bill before then.
– In his career, Hasan has worked both local and state government positions—including the Attorney General’s Office in Florida. On top of being familiar with the legislative process, he has also been researching and writing on the legality of sports betting across the US. Outside of work you’ll most likely find him producing or playing music, playing sports, or working on creative writing projects. You’ll also catch him at Doak Campbell Stadium cheering on the Noles.