The state of Hawaii is one of two states with absolutely no gambling at all, which obviously includes sports betting.
Hawaii joins Utah as the only two states with no forms of gambling. That means no casinos, no bingo, no state lottery, and no sports betting.
That doesn’t mean Hawaii has passed on considered sports betting, though. Both 2019 and 2020 saw attempts to legalize sports betting, though neither effort got much support.
When will online sports betting launch in Hawaii?
It’s unclear when any form of sports betting will be legalized in Hawaii. But it would seem natural that online sports betting be a part of any enabling bill.
Since Hawaii has no gambling at all, it would be difficult to create a retail sports betting environment. It wouldn’t be as simple as adding sports betting to the lottery, like some states without other forms of gambling could do.
Hawaii could benefit the most from a system like Tennessee, which is online-only and doesn’t require any relationship to a land-based entity.
Recent Hawaii sports betting and DFS stories
Legal betting options in Hawaii
Obviously, since there is no legal gambling whatsoever in the state of Hawaii, there are no legal betting options, either. There are websites that suggest they can accept bets from anywhere in the United States, but that isn’t necessarily true.
No gambling websites are licensed and authorized at a federal level. All gambling authorizations are conducted at the state or jurisdictional level.
This means these offshore sportsbook operators are operating without a license, and therefore won’t always have the highest integrity.
That means these operators can choose to not pay out winning bets or even shut down operations without refunding customer funds. And, since the operations are not licensed in the United States, there are no consumer protections to help recover those funds.
Most potentially popular sports to bet on in Hawaii
Hawaii has no professional sports teams, but it does have a beloved football program.
The University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors is the state’s only Division I FBS college football program. The team has made a few appearances in the Hawai’i Bowl over the past decade, most recently defeating BYU in 2019.
The Rainbow Warriors also have a beloved men’s basketball team, but success has been harder to come by. The team made the Round of 32 in the 2016 NCAA basketball tournament after finishing first in the Big West Conference. The last NCAA tournament appearance before that was in 2002.
Hawaii and daily fantasy sports
Hawaiians looking for sports entertainment unfortunately cannot turn to daily fantasy sports, either.
Hawaii is one of the few states that specifically outlaws daily fantasy sports contests.
Former state Attorney General Doug Chin ruled daily fantasy sports are technically illegal gambling under Hawaii’s laws.
“Gambling generally occurs under Hawaii law when a person stakes or risks something of value upon a game of chance or upon any future contingent event not under the person’s control,” said Chin. “The technology may have changed, but the vice has not.”
Therefore, daily fantasy sports contests have been illegal in the state since January 2016.
Is horse racing legal in Hawaii?
Unsurprisingly, horse racing is also illegal in Hawaii.
And due to Hawaii’s tough gambling laws, advance deposit wagering sites are also not available in the state. That means simulcast betting on your computer or phone through operations like BetAmerica, TVG and TwinSpires is not allowed.
Hawaii sports betting timeline
SB 2571 would have established a task force to examine how much money sports betting could bring to the state of Hawaii.
HB 1107 would have created the Hawaii Sports Wagering Corporation, which would have regulated and operated sports betting in the state. The process would have included a request for proposal, allowing companies to submit bids to operate sports betting in the state.
Hawaii sports betting FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Hawaii?
No, sports betting is not currently legal in Hawaii. There have been attempts to legalize, but there has been little support.
Where can I bet on sports in Hawaii?
Right now, there are no legal options to bet on sports in Hawaii. Any site purporting to offer sports betting is doing so illegally.
Can I bet on sports on my phone in Hawaii?
Since sports betting is not legal in Hawaii, there are no legal options to bet with your phone in the state.
There are websites that claim they can accept bets from anywhere in the United States. These are considered offshore sportsbook operators since they are not licensed to operate in any individual state. All gambling laws and licenses are decided at the state or jurisdiction level.
This means anyone that chooses to bet with these websites have no consumer protections. For instance, an offshore sportsbook operator could choose to not pay out a winning bet or close their website without refunding customer accounts and not be held liable under US law.