Hawaii resides in the murkiest of gray areas as far as gambling and real money Internet poker in 2018 is concerned. One of only a couple of states where gambling in land based casinos and poker websites is completely prohibited, the Aloha State is also one of 10 states currently making a push to regulate real cash live betting and legal Internet poker and casino gambling.

Due to HI State’s high tourism rates, a live gambling and lawful poker betting industry, letting gambling fans play popular games like Texas Hold’em poker for real money, would certainly thrive. Legit Internet poker gambling websites opening are a different story, as most tourists will not visit the tropical island just to sit around in their hotel room clicking buttons on real money poker websites.

It seems as though Hawaii will continue flirting with the idea of regulated real cash Internet poker and other iGaming gambling in 2018 and for the foreseeable future. Whether headway will be made leading to the opening of actual legal poker betting websites is currently an uncertainty.

Go ahead and say “Aloha” to online gambling at a real money US poker site. Having some fun making wagers on the virtual green table is completely legit, but you still need to know the best sites of 2018.

Hawaii’s Multiple Attempts To Legalize Internet Gambling Fail

Shortly after the Department of Justice’s ruling that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting [1], and not to real money Internet poker gambling, Hawaii officials forged a bill that would regulate Internet gambling and legal poker websites.As of 2015 it hasn’t been passed. The bill, entitled HB2422 was co-sponsored by three of the state’s representatives, all of them Democrats. Together with the complimentary bill HB2316, lawmakers proposed the formation of a state lottery commission, which would be responsible for overseeing all Internet gambling and potential real cash Internet poker related activities.

The crux of the proposal in HI stated that gamblers over the age of 18, who are able to verify their identity and are currently situated in Hawaii, would be able to gamble online at casinos and lawful poker websites. Ultimately the real money Internet betting bill failed to gain headway.

In 2013, a similar Internet gambling bill – this one co-sponsored by three State Senators, was introduced [2]. In addition to the aforementioned constituents, SB 768 would disallow operators that accepted real-money bets for Texas Hold’em poker and other poker games in the US prior to Black Friday from setting up shop in Hawaii. Also, it would permit Hawaii to enter into interstate Internet poker compacts with other states. But it too failed to find its footing among Hawaii’s legislators.

Can Players From Hawaii Play Online Poker?


Real cash poker players from the Aloha State are welcome at virtually all US-friendly poker websites in 2018. But given the wealth of poker websites currently available to Hawaiians, figuring out which Internet poker destinations are the best to do your real money poker betting at can be a disjointing experience.

Luckily, we’ve taken most of the guesswork out of the equation by first thoroughly reviewing each US-facing legit poker website, and then listing the very best real money Internet poker websites just for you. Consider it our way of guiding you to winning a pile of real money at the Internet poker tables!

  • U. S. Poker Site
  • Compatibillity
  • Editor Rating
  • Deposit Bonus

Is Online Poker Legal In Hawaii?


While online poker and Internet poker betting is not specifically addressed by Hawaii’s gambling statutes as they stand in 2018, overall HI state takes a fairly intolerant approach to real cash poker and gambling activities, evident by its status as one of only two states that prohibits all forms of regulated, legal poker gambling.

That being said, the vast majority of Hawaii’s laws in 2018 are targeted towards poker website operators, and overall Hawaii is generally hospitable towards those who gamble socially by betting a bit of their hard earned real money on poker games like Texas Hold’em on poker websites.

To fully grasp the breadth of Hawaii’s gambling statutes, we first turn to the definition of gambling according to the state of HI:

A person engages in gambling if he stakes or risks something of value, including real money, upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under his control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that he or someone else will receive something in the event of a certain outcome. Section 712-1220(4)

Like so many other definitions of gambling and betting, Hawaii’s position provides very little insight as to what constitutes a contest of chance and whether offline and Internet poker count as a game of chance. Upon further investigation we were able to deduce that:

A contest of chance means 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. Section 712-1220(3)

Although Hawaii’s gambling laws do not explicitly define the parameters of the Material Degree test, generally speaking it states that if a game features an element of chance, even if skill is the predominant factor in determining a winner as it is in real money poker, the game is still ruled a contest of chance. Given this, there’s little reason to believe that Internet poker gambling for real cash does not fall within the scope of Hawaii’s definition of gambling.

The only penalty clause that applies to players is Section 712-1223 Gambling. It states:

A person commits the offense of gambling if the person knowingly advances or participates in any gambling activity. Gambling is a misdemeanor.

Comparatively, Internet poker operators offering gambling fans poker websites to play at are hit with harsher repercussions. Should a poker website operator generate any sort of significant real cash income from taking bets, they can be subjected to a class C felony. Lesser operators, such as those who run a raked home game of Texas Hold’em poker, would be subject to the same punishment as gambling players – namely, a misdemeanor.

Hawaii’s statutes do make a notable exception for social gambling and real money poker betting in 2018, in so long as players compete on equal terms and that no player receives, or becomes entitled to receive, anything of value or any profit, directly or indirectly, other than the player’s personal gambling winnings. The HI law goes on to state that all poker players participating in social gambling must be of legal gambling age, and that the activity of legal poker betting take place in a private place.

The legality of online poker is questionable and legit Internet poker is not a clear cut thing. Considering that real money poker players who play online only reap the Internet poker rewards of their personal gambling winnings, and generally log on to poker websites from their own homes, it is conceivable that from the player’s perspective, logging onto an offshore site and playing real money Internet poker is perfectly acceptable, and therefore Internet poker is lawful. And while we can’t say for certain, we do know that Hawaii lawmakers have not been going particularly out of their way to prosecute online players playing at Internet poker websites in HI.

For more on Hawaii’s general gambling and poker betting statutes, please visit the “References” section [3].

The Facts

The History Of Gambling In Hawaii

Before Hawaii was even discovered in 1778, natives of the Aloha State could be found gambling and betting it up during the Makahiki Festival. With the colonization of the island came reform, and by the time the Americans reached Hawaii, real cash gambling faded in popularity.

Gambling in legal horse racing remained popular among locals through the 1950s, and at one point as many of twelve real money gambling tracks littered Hawaii’s numerous islands. But horseracing would also eventually fall out of favour in HI.

The overwhelming influence of Mormons and devout Christians has resulted in Hawaii’s lack of casinos and real cash poker rooms in 2015, and while many attempts have been made to open a land-based casino, they have all been met with heavy resistance and anti-real money gambling sentiment.

Regulated Gambling Options In Hawaii

Simply stated, there are none. There is nowhere you can play legal real cash poker in HI. Again, this may change in the coming years, but until then, Hawaiians have to resign themselves to gambling on real money poker socially.

The Future Of Regulating Online Gambling In Hawaii

Shockingly, Hawaii stands an above average chance of regulating online gambling and real money Internet poker, or at the very least online poker websites.

Whereas most states have yet to weigh in on the iGaming and legal Internet poker issue, Hawaii’s legislators have already proposed two bills relating to real money poker websites. And while the bills ultimately failed, they prove that there is a growing contingent of Hawaiians in favor of Internet betting and poker gambling websites becoming regulated in 2015.

However, even if a future iteration of an iGaming bill were to pass in HI, it would take some time for the first virtual casino and Internet poker websites to open their doors, for several reasons. The first is that there is currently no legal Internet poker oversight committee in place. Secondly, Hawaii’s stipulation that pre-Black Friday real money poker website operators are unsuitable would severely diminish the amount of companies that could form an alignment with Hawaii. And finally, there are no land-based casinos or real money poker betting destinations for iGaming operators to latch onto.

Fun Facts

In 2015, Hawaii is listed among 10 US states currently considering a movement to legalize online gambling and create legal poker websites for HI residents to start real cash betting on [4].

In June 2010, Hawaiian poker professional Michael Chow won the WSOP $1,500 Omaha Hi/Lo event. Chow was only the second Hawaiian in WSOP history to win a real money poker bracelet. Sweetening the deal, Chow won the famous poker gambling event on the dawn of his 33rd birthday. His victory was good for $237,463. Chow has final tabled a multitude of other prestigious real cash poker events in his professional career.

The Bottom Line

Hawaii’s paltry 1.3 million population and isolated location will work against the Aloha State’s ability to host a thriving Internet poker community and offer top quality legal real money poker websites. However, if it were able to forge interstate gambling compacts with say New Jersey, the state’s gorgeous climate would likely attract professional real cash Internet poker grinders, ultimately transforming Hawaii into an online gambling hub and the go-to-destination for serious real money legal poker players. Wishful thinking, but anything’s possible for HI in the world of Internet poker.

For now in 2018, expect any proposed iGaming and Internet poker bill to meet with a sea of resistance. It’s very likely that two, three or even ten more iterations of the current proposal may be necessary before lawmakers finally come to terms on the issue of real money poker websites. But it may very well happen, which is great news for Hawaii’s real cash poker gambling fans – just not anytime soon.




[1] Department of Justice Shifts Stance on Wire Act, Replies to Reid/Kyl Letter

[2] Hawaii Proposes Online Gambling Bill

[3] Hawaii State Legislature

[4] Study: 10 states, including Hawaii, eye Internet gambling bills

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