Future of Hawaii Sports Betting: Legalization Timeline

Hawaii Legal Sports Betting Overview

Hawaii has a unique stance on gambling, being one of only two US states, alongside Utah, to prohibit all forms of gambling. This extends to Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) games as well, making it one of the four states to ban them. Despite the potential revenue from gambling taxes, lawmakers have been resistant to changing the state’s laws. Several sports betting bills have been introduced since the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018, but none have passed the committee stage.

HI Sports Betting Law Details

📆 Retail Sports Betting Launch Date: N/A
📆 Online Sports Betting Launch Date: N/A
✅ Licensed Sportsbooks: N/A
💵 Legal Wagering Options: N/A
🔞 Legal Gambling Age in HI: N/A
🏈 Sports to Bet On: N/A
🏦 Permitted Banking Options: N/A
⚖️ Hawaii Gambling Regulator: N/A

Despite the overall opposition to gambling, there has been some support for legalizing online sports betting. However, bills like HB 736, which included online sports betting legalization, were ultimately abandoned in favor of new legislation. The outlook for sports betting in Hawaii remains uncertain, but in this article, we will provide you with the latest updates and information about the potential future of sports betting in the Aloha State.

Hawaii Online Sportsbooks

If Hawaii were to legalize sports betting, it is likely that only online wagering would be approved. Recent bills, such as HB 1815 and HB 736, focused on legalizing online betting specifically. However, none of these bills successfully passed through the committee stage. In other states, sportsbooks typically partner with local gambling establishments or sports venues to launch legally. DraftKings is the most likely sportsbook to enter the Hawaiian market, as they have shown support for lawmakers trying to legalize online sports wagering in the state.

Latest Hawaii Sports Betting Updates

The current status of sports betting in Hawaii remains illegal, including Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS), horse racing, and casino gambling. Despite previous attempts, such as HB 736 and HB 1815, it is unlikely that the laws will change in the near future. However, with influential sports betting companies like DraftKings advocating for amendments to the existing laws and some lawmakers supporting its legalization, discussions surrounding sports betting are likely to continue.

Timeline for Sports Betting in Hawaii

Here is a timeline of the notable events related to sports betting in Hawaii:

  • May 5, 2022: HB 1962 fails to pass before the end of the Hawaii legislative session.
  • February 9, 2022: Representative Daniel Holt introduces HB 1962, which proposes funding for studying the feasibility of sports betting in Hawaii.
  • January 26, 2022: Representative Chris Todd introduces HB 1973, aiming to legalize sports betting in Hawaii, but it fails to leave the committees.
  • January 24, 2022: Representative Sean Quinlan introduces HB 1962, a bill for a study on the feasibility of gambling in Hawaii.
  • January 25, 2022: Representative Chris Todd decides not to reintroduce HB 736 in favor of a new bill.
  • January 24, 2022: Representative John Mizuno introduces HB 1815, an online sports betting legalization bill.
  • February 10, 2021: The Hawaii Congress ECD Committee defers HB 736 to the 2022 legislative session after discussions with stakeholders and DraftKings.
  • January 25, 2021: Senator Donna Kim introduces SB 595 to establish a task force for exploring sports betting possibilities in Hawaii.
  • January 25, 2021: Representative Chris Todd’s HB 736, proposing a pilot sports betting program until 2025, gains initial support.
  • January 23, 2019: Representative Chris Todd introduces HB 1107, aiming to create a Hawaii Sports Wagering Corporation, but it doesn’t gain support.
  • May 14, 2018: The US Supreme Court overturns PASPA, giving states the right to legalize sports betting.
  • January 27, 2016: Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin rules out the legalization of DFS in Hawaii.

These events highlight the ongoing efforts and debates surrounding sports betting in Hawaii. While there have been proposals and discussions, the road to legalization remains challenging.

Hawaii Sports Betting Background

Hawaii’s opposition to gambling dates back centuries when Dutch missionaries viewed gambling as a vice that threatened the island nation. Despite a brief period in 1893 when gambling was legalized before being swiftly banned again, Hawaii has maintained its strong anti-gambling stance. Since the repeal of PASPA, there have been multiple attempts to legalize sports betting or study its feasibility, but these initiatives have faced resistance, and no significant progress has been made. The future of sports betting in Hawaii remains uncertain.

The Democratic Party in Hawaii, which currently holds a vast majority of seats in the state congress, is divided on the issue of sports betting. While Governor David Ige and his likely successor, Josh Green, are against gambling legalization, there are lawmakers like Rep. Chris Todd and Rep. Sean Quinlan who have introduced multiple sports betting bills and research requests over the years. These bills have garnered support from entities like DraftKings, with the company actively advocating for sports betting in Hawaii. However, despite the efforts, all sports betting bills were ultimately killed in committees.

Currently, there are no physical locations where sports bets can be placed in Hawaii as casinos are prohibited. While there have been bills introduced to legalize casinos, they have not gained enough support to move forward. Similarly, there is no state lottery in Hawaii, although there have been proposals to launch one, which have also faced challenges. Furthermore, there are no horse racing tracks or stadiums for retail sportsbooks to open in.

Hawaii Responsible Gambling Resources

Although all forms of gambling are illegal in Hawaii, there are still national organizations that offer support for problem gamblers. The National Council of Problem Gambling Hawaii provides a 24/7 helpline and live chat for individuals struggling with gambling addiction. They also connect players with local problem gambling support resources. Gamblers Anonymous offers anonymous meetings for individuals to share their experiences with problem gambling, along with a helpline, a screening guide, and a recovery program. Additionally, GamTalk is a national moderated peer support forum that provides online assistance for problem gamblers.

It is worth noting that since gambling is illegal in Hawaii, there are no official problem gambling prevention or support measures specific to the state. However, these national resources are available to residents seeking help.

Teams to Bet on in Hawaii

Pro Sports

Due to its small population and geographic isolation, Hawaii does not have any professional major league sports franchises. Many sports fans in Hawaii choose to support teams from neighboring California. Here are some of the major sports franchises in California that Hawaii residents often follow:

California
Los Angeles Chargers
Los Angeles Rams
San Francisco 49ers
Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Lakers
Sacramento Kings
Los Angeles Angels
Los Angeles Dodgers
Oakland Athletics
San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants
Anaheim Ducks
Los Angeles Kings
San Jose Sharks

Minor League Sports

Due to the significant distance from opponents and the logistical challenges of hosting games, there are currently no minor league teams based in Hawaii. In the past, the Hawaii Islanders played minor league baseball in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League until 1987, achieving considerable success. However, the absence of minor league teams currently restricts the opportunities for live local sports action in Hawaii.

College Sports

The University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors is the state’s only NCAA Division I level college athletic program. The football program, based at the 50,000-seater Aloha Stadium, has produced notable players who have transitioned to the NFL. The baseball program has also had a strong presence, finishing as runners-up in the 1980 College World Series. College sports, especially football, generate significant fan support in Hawaii.

Women’s Sports

While there are no professional or minor league women’s teams in Hawaii, the University of Hawaii supports various women’s varsity teams. This includes the women’s basketball team, which has had successes in the NCAA Tournament and continues to receive local support.

Market Coverage

As Hawaii is geographically distant from neighboring states and lacks major professional sports teams, it’s challenging to compare its market coverage to nearby regions. However, an examination of West Coast states with legalized sports betting provides insights into the potential opportunities.

Washington and Oregon already have sportsbooks that cover a wide range of sports, including major leagues like the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB. These sportsbooks even offer niche markets such as NASCAR and MMA. If sports betting were to be legalized in Hawaii, it could benefit from similar market coverage, catering to the interests of local sports enthusiasts.

Competitive Odds & Prices

If sports betting is legalized in Hawaii, top sportsbooks like DraftKings would likely enter the market. DraftKings is known for offering competitive betting odds across a wide range of sports. They have already demonstrated their commitment to providing excellent point spread odds on MLB games as an official betting partner of the sports league. With the presence of renowned sportsbooks, Hawaiian bettors would have access to competitive prices and odds compared to other states.

Gambling Revenue

In addition to entertainment value, one of the key attractions of legalizing sports betting is the potential tax revenue it can generate for the government. A relevant example is New Hampshire, which launched sports betting with a 6.75% tax rate in December 2019. As of June 2022, the state has processed nearly $1.5 billion in bets, resulting in significant tax revenue. Hawaii, with a similar population size to New Hampshire and a considerable influx of visitors, has the potential to generate substantial gambling tax revenue if sports betting were legalized. Bills like HB 1815 proposed a 55% state tax rate on sports betting winnings, which could contribute significantly to the state’s finances.

Betting Taxes

In the US, all sports bettors are required to declare their gambling winnings to the IRS, regardless of the state they reside in. If you win more than $600, you must complete a W-2G form and include your gambling winnings in your state income tax. Betting sites may hold up to 25% of your winnings for tax purposes. Additionally, sportsbooks need to pay a 0.25% excise tax on the monthly betting handle, as mandated by the Internal Revenue Code. The Code also requires sportsbooks to pay $50 for each employee involved in accepting bets.

Who Oversees Sports Betting in Hawaii?

Currently, Hawaii does not have a state regulator for gambling. Should sports betting legislation be passed, a new authority would need to be created to govern and regulate sports betting in the state. The proposed Hawaii Sports Wagering Corporation from HB 1107 would oversee the sports betting industry and establish licensing processes to ensure the safety and fairness of sportsbooks.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is betting legal in Hawaii?

No, sports betting and all other forms of gambling are illegal in Hawaii. The state maintains a strong opposition to gambling, making it unlikely for the laws to change in the near future.

Who would govern sports betting in Hawaii?

If sports betting were to be legalized, Hawaii lawmakers would need to establish a regulatory body specifically for sports betting. Currently, no adequate gambling authorities exist in the state.

How old would you have to be to bet in Hawaii?

If betting were to be legalized in Hawaii, it would likely follow the minimum age requirement of 21, which is common in most US states for placing legal bets.

When will sports betting launch in Hawaii?

The earliest sports betting could be legalized in Hawaii is in 2023. However, due to the state’s historical stance on sports wagering, it is uncertain when or if sports betting will become legal.

Where would I be able to bet on sports in Hawaii?

If online sports betting were to be legalized in Hawaii, it would likely be accessible from anywhere within the state. The launch of retail sports betting is less clear, as there are no existing gambling locations that could host retail sportsbooks.

Would sportsbooks in Hawaii be safe?

If sports betting were to be legalized, a regulatory body would closely oversee the industry to ensure the safety of bettors. The establishment of a regulatory body would involve thorough checks on the safety measures and reputation of the sports betting companies operating in Hawaii.

Would I have to pay taxes on betting winnings in Hawaii?

Yes, if sports betting were to be legalized, all bettors in Hawaii would be required to pay taxes on their winnings. The IRS mandates that gambling winnings be declared, and a portion of the winnings may be held by the sportsbooks for tax purposes.

Can you play DraftKings in Hawaii?

No, DraftKings is not available for use in Hawaii. However, DraftKings has shown interest in the state and supported lawmakers in their efforts to pass sports betting bills.

Can you play FanDuel in Hawaii?

No, FanDuel is not accessible in Hawaii due to the prohibition of sports betting and other forms of gambling. This also applies to FanDuel’s other gambling products, including Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS), online casino, and online horse racing betting.

Can you play BetMGM in Hawaii?

No, BetMGM is not available for Hawaiian players as sportsbooks are not permitted in the state. BetMGM can only operate in states where sports betting has been legalized.

Can you play Caesars in Hawaii?

No, Caesars’ desktop site and mobile app cannot be used in Hawaii since all forms of gambling, including sports betting, are illegal. However, if sports betting were legalized, top sportsbooks like Caesars would likely enter the Hawaiian market.

Can you play TwinSpires in Hawaii?

No, you cannot use TwinSpires Sportsbook or its horse racing betting site in Hawaii. Furthermore, TwinSpires has been shutting down its sportsbook in some US states.

Which sportsbooks will be available in Hawaii in the future?

While the legalization of sports betting in Hawaii remains uncertain, DraftKings has shown particular interest in entering the state’s market. The company actively supported lawmakers and sent representatives to advocate for sports betting in Hawaii.

Conclusion

Hawaii’s aversion to gambling has created significant barriers for the legalization of sports betting in the state. Despite some support for online betting, every sports betting bill introduced thus far has failed to progress in committees. However, discussions and debates on the topic continue, with lawmakers, sports betting companies, and advocates pushing for change. The future of sports betting in Hawaii remains uncertain, but if legalized, it has the potential to generate substantial tax revenue and provide a regulated and safe betting environment for residents and visitors.

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Doug I. Jones

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