Hawaii Legislature

  • Hawaii lawmakers present new bills to launch legal sports betting and daily fantasy sports (DFS) in Hawaii.
  • One bill would launch a sports betting taskforce.
  • Hawaii has historically been against gambling of all kinds.

HONOLULULawmakers in Hawaii have yet again presented some sports betting bills to the state’s legislature with hopes to launch a domestic betting market.

One bill would see a newly found sports betting task force that would oversee the legal sports betting operations in the state. Since Hawaii has no legal gambling laws in its legislation, there is no Gaming Board or Lottery Commission in the state.

Lawmakers have also presented a bill to bring daily fantasy sports or DFS to the state, exempting the practice from being considered a form of gambling.

Hawaii Sports Betting Bills

The three bills are all bringing different things to the table and the two Hawaii sports betting bills have unique approaches for how to launch the new market domestically.

The first bill, SB 595 will see the implementation of a newly founded sports betting task force that would be in charge of all legal sports betting operations. This includes licensing agreements with regulated books and determining taxes and fees.

This bill would require an amendment to the Hawaii gambling laws currently in place. Hawaii outlaws all regulated gambling operations currently, including sports betting.

HB 736 is attempting to alter how sports betting is defined in the state’s gambling laws altogether. The goal of this bill is to exclude digital sports betting under the current gambling laws and to deal with it as a separate entity.

Should this bill pass, the online sports betting market would then be viewed not as under gambling laws, but under a separate sports betting law for strictly online and mobile betting.

The final bill that has been presented is the DFS bill HB 850. This bill would allow daily fantasy sports to operate in the Aloha State as it would not be considered gambling under the state’s current gambling laws.

This bill aims to view DFS as a game of skill and not so much a game of chance. Other markets that have DFS operational have similar laws in place.

While these bills have been presented, it does not mean any of them will pass. Hawaii has been adamantly against launching any legal sports betting within its borders.

What could change the state’s tune is the lack of tourism caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Adding a sports betting market could help make up for the lost revenue the state has suffered.

Hawaii will address these bills at a later legislative session date.

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