Hawaii is a great place to go for a vacation. However, vacation is defined differently by each person. Some people’s idea of vacation is relaxation on the beach, others like to lounge back at home and binge on Strange Things. Than for a few, their ideal down time is spent with slot machines and poker tables. For the ones looking for a mini Vegas in paradise —there is no gambling in Hawaii.
It is not known to many that Hawaii is only one of two states that has no legalized gambling of any kind. This law is applied strictly, prohibiting lotteries, horse races, sports betting, or even bingo anywhere on the island state. The same law applies on Hawaiian waters too. If you’re traveling on a cruise ship in the Hawaiian Islands, there is no gambling on cruise ships in Hawaiian waters either.
Hawaii’s gambling laws explicitly prohibits and bans all casinos and gambling events aboard cruise ships off its coast. Offenders will be held liable, as it is a criminal offense and can result to jail time and fines.
This law expands to locals and homeowners in Hawaii. The law doesn’t only cover the casinos and gambling events and venues, individuals are also prohibited to own slot machines. You aren’t allowed to have one in your home or anywhere else for entertainment—even for display or collection purposes.
Hawaiians value family above everything else. True enough, it is the core of most of their tradition and culture. Most people in Hawaii oppose gambling because they think it takes away from the family atmosphere, and will create more problems than good. There are a lot of activities to enjoy year-round in Hawaii, a lot of different places to see, food to eat, and great people to meet.
“People don’t come here to be shut up in a casino to gamble,” said Dianne Kay, president of the Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling. “It would be sad if we destroyed the beautiful ambiance we have here.”
Some gambling enthusiasts argue that Hawaii can use the revenue from the casinos. After all, the industry would draw much-needed new money and jobs into the tourism-dependent economy. There are also those who feel that the Akaka bill, which has been in Congress for a while, if passed, will mean that native Hawaiians will be able to build casinos on Hawaiian land. In fact, lawmakers in Hawaii pitch gambling bills nearly every year, but the measures rarely advance through several committees as they have this year. Legislators view gambling as a rare opportunity to raise money without having to hike taxes—which would is a politicians goal to improve the local economy.
However, the chances of gambling spots, casinos, and other betting venues opening in the state any time soon are low, and the locals of Hawaii are happy with that outcome. To them, Hawaii is all about connecting with nature, being at peace, and interacting with family and friends—everything that gambling takes out. Hawaii will remain to be the tropical paradise everybody has known it to be. Perfect with just surfboards, hula, and luau—no poker chips and slot machines needed. For now, entertainment in the islands mean being at the beach, eating delicious Hawaiian food, learning how to surf and to hula. Just soak in the sun while it lasts.
So, if you are the kind of tourist who look forward to trying out your luck by betting and rolling on casinos, Hawaii may not be for you, but if you want to come and get away from the daily stresses, swim in pristine waters, and have a relaxing vacation in the Pacific, the islands are a great spot.
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Eddie Keliinohomoku is the Director of sales and marketing and co-founder of Go Hawaii Tours and Aloha Trikke, With Direct Ties to the Hawaiian islands, Eddie's passion is sharing the islands and spirit of aloha with the world. "E Komo Mai"