Though Hawaii is considered one of the world’s top destinations, many locals actually find themselves traveling to the mainland— specifically, Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority reports that about 300,000 passengers fly from Hawaii to Sin City each year. Hawaiian residents are willing to pump millions of dollars into Nevada’s economy because of one key thing: the casinos.
Hawaii doesn’t have a single casino. In fact, tourists will discover that there aren’t even any poker rooms in the state, and this is because of the islands’ stand on poker itself.
Hawaii’s Stand on Poker
Out of the 50 U.S. states, Hawaii is one of the two states that doesn’t allow any form of organized gaming. This means that tourists won’t find any race tracks, sports books, casinos, poker rooms, or even lottery sites across the islands.
But given that numerous Hawaiians fly out to Las Vegas for casinos, it’s no surprise that legislators have tried to legalize poker within the islands. Just last year, legislators pushed for the House Bill 383, which would have created a state commission for overseeing live poker rooms. Other legislators also tried to pass the House Bill 772, which would have permitted the establishment of a casino in the Hawaiian Convention Center, therefore allowing tourists to play live poker. However, these bills were deferred, so residents and tourists in Hawaii have to observe current prohibitions on poker and other forms of gaming.
Hawaii isn’t the only state that’s struggling to pass bills for both live and online poker. This list of poker legislation across the country shows that just over half of US states allow live poker while only six permit online poker, proving that Hawaii’s strictness isn’t isolated. Though several states are firm about gaming, lawmakers still make an effort to submit bills that can legalize either live or online poker within their own jurisdictions. As such, fans of poker can look into Hawaii’s local legislation every year to check if you can finally play poker within the state.
How Can You Play Poker in Hawaii?
Due to Hawaii’s firm stand on poker, it’s no wonder that Hawaiians often fly out to get a chance to play live poker. Boyd Gaming Corporation has even started to call the desert city the ninth island of Hawaii because of the number of Hawaiians that are drawn to Sin City’s casinos.
While you’re free to fly to other states to play a game of poker, there are still a few ways to enjoy the game within Hawaii.
The state laws may prohibit organized gaming, but residents can still participate in social poker games. You can meet up with your friends and loved ones to play poker, as long as the game isn’t held in a public establishment like a hotel or a restaurant.
If you want to play on your own, action-adventure games and other popular video game genres feature poker as a side challenge for players. Action-adventure video games have a strong emphasis on storylines, so games like Grand Theft Auto V and Watch Dogs feature mini poker games that allow in-game characters to carry out their missions or even win prizes.
Despite the number of locals who enjoy casino games like poker, it looks like Hawaii’s strict regulations on gaming will continue. As such, poker fans in Hawaii may need to wait a little longer for poker legislations to be submitted and approved so that they can finally play and enjoy poker (and much more) in public.