Are There Hawaii Casinos? Everything to Know About Gambling in Hawaii

Are you searching for Hawaii casinos? This guide from a Hawaii local has everything you need to know.

casino filled with slot machines Hawaii casinos

So you’re wondering if Hawaii has casinos. Maybe it’s out of curiosity or maybe it’s because you want to spend some of your island getaway at a slot machine. Regardless of the reason, keep reading to find out the answers to your Hawaii casino questions.

Does Hawaii Have Casinos?

No, Hawaii does not have any casinos. There are no Oahu casinos, Maui casinos, Kauai casinos, or Big Island casinos. There aren’t even Waikiki casinos or Honolulu casinos. Hawaii is one of only two states with this law, with Utah being the other one.

As a matter of fact, Hawaii prohibits all forms of gambling. In addition to no casinos in Hawaii, there’s also no sports betting, no lotteries, and even no bingo. Even cruise ships have to shut down their onboard casinos when they are in Hawaiian waters.

Simply put, say goodbye to your poker, your slot machines, and any other gambling games during your Hawaii getaway.

card table stacked with chips

Why Aren’t There Any Hawaii Casinos?

There are a few different reasons that Hawaii doesn’t have any casinos. First, casinos would ruin the atmosphere of Hawaii. Most visitors come to Hawaii for the beautiful nature, friendly people, and calming setting. Much of that would go away with the addition of casinos.

Second, the land is better used for tourism. Casinos and gambling are usually introduced to an area in order to provide more revenue. After all, part of the reason the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed in 1988 was to increase the amount of money going to Native American tribes. But in Hawaii, the land would actually be more financially effective if it were to be used for tourism purposes instead.

Third, going to Hawaii is already expensive. No one needs the added expense of losing money at the slot machine or card table.

Last but not least, many lawmakers worry that having Hawaii casinos will bring other types of unwanted activities to the islands. Right now, Hawaii is quite safe. While it’s not as safe as it was 20 years ago, it is still significantly safer than just about any other state in the U.S. Crime rates across the board are relatively low, and lawmakers believe that introducing gambling to the islands will make the crime rates increase and the safety levels decrease.

What Happens If You Gamble in Hawaii?

If you do gamble in Hawaii, it’s usually considered a misdemeanor. But if you make a certain amount of money ($500 to $1,000 in one day, depending on the type of gambling), it’s considered a felony.

Simply put, don’t gamble in Hawaii. It’s not worth it. Enjoy the beaches, hikes, and restaurants instead.

spinning roulette table Hawaii casinos

Are There Plans to Open Any Casinos in Hawaii?

As of now, no, but that could change. The COVID-19 pandemic made Hawaii’s budget take a significant hit. A few people proposed bills that would legalize some forms of gambling to remedy this money problem. That said, all of the gambling proposals have been shot down before they could gain any traction at all. So it’s safe to say that there won’t be any casinos in Hawaii for a while.

There has been some chatter about opening a casino on the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) lands. The goal would be to use the profits to build more affordable housing for Native Hawaiians. That said, it seems like the majority of Native Hawaiian people are opposed to this idea. They would prefer that the small part of Hawaii’s land that is still owned by Native Hawaiians remain that way and NOT be turned into a casino.

Where Do Hawaii Locals Go to Gamble?

Since there are no Hawaii casinos, many wonder where Hawaii locals go to gamble. While a good chunk of the population abstains from gambling in general, that’s not true for everyone.

There’s a reason that Hawaii locals often refer to Las Vegas as the “9th island.” Las Vegas is one of the most popular vacation destinations for people who live in Hawaii, and that’s where anyone who likes to gamble can get it out of their system. (That said, the casinos aren’t the only place worth visiting in Sin City — here are 100 non-gambling things to do in Las Vegas).

Do you have any other questions about Hawaii casinos or Hawaii gambling? Leave them in the comments below!

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