Legal Poker in Hawaii

Hawaii Poker Laws

Is Online Poker / Gambling Legal in Hawaii?

The state of Hawaii has pretty liberal laws related to gambling in general and poker specifically. Many measures are in place to make sure poker is legal under the correct conditions. As is plainly stated in section 712-1223 of the Hawaiian Penal Code, “A person commits the offense of gambling if the person knowingly advances or participates in any gambling activity.” That may seem like all gambling is illegal in the Aloha State, and yes, poker is described as gambling by the state code, but there is an exemption in state law that lets poker players enjoy their game.

Social Gambling in Hawaii

It’s common to find the phrase “social gambling” on the law books of various American states, and Hawaii is no exception. In Hawaii, social gambling is any game in which all players play on equal terms, games where no one profiting just from opening their doors and offering the game, if the game is kept in a private residential building, all players are 18 or older, and there is no wagering on sporting events. The good news for home poker games in Hawaii is that it appears that the majority of social poker games meet these criteria.

If you want to run a private home poker game in Hawaii, make sure that the host of the game doesn’t charge any entry fees, rake the pot, or let any minors into the game. Under the correct conditions, home poker games are totally legal in Hawaii, good news for those who like to play card games in the privacy of their homes.

Hawaii Casino Gambling & Poker

Only a few forms of gambling are allowed in Hawaii: specifically, according to state law, bingo, raffles, and specific types of wagers on sporting events. Unfortunately for casino gamblers, the state still does not allow any organized casinos to open within Hawaiian borders. Dig around enough and you’ll see that most pro-gambling advocates in Hawaii blame the heavy influence of both the Catholic and Mormon church, influence that began when the islands were discovered by missionaries from one or the other church.

Tourism is a major industry in Hawaii, so much so that traditional appeals to allow new forms of gambling as a source of revenue fall on deaf ears. The additional income from legal poker and casinos would be tiny in comparison to existing income. That makes it unlikely that Hawaii will consider opening casinos or poker rooms any time soon.

Learn About Other State Laws

Is It Legal to Play Online Poker in Hawaii?

The state of Hawaii has no law on the books making online gambling illegal. Hawaii’s Penal Code is fairly liberal when it comes to social gambling, and so far the same laws seem to apply to those who want to play poker or other card games on the Internet.  Since no Hawaiian has yet been prosecuted for playing Internet games of chance or skill, and since the US federal government recently relaxed its position on Internet-based gaming, it appears that it is fully legal to play online games within Hawaiian borders.

You can find more information about Hawaii poker and gambling laws here: