Hawaii state law pretty unambiguously restricts wagering in any, ‘Contest of chance,’ whatsoever. Furthermore, the state can be considered extremely restrictive on gambling because they have no legal and authorized form of gambling whatsoever. That means no casinos, no lottery, no charitable gambling, no bingo halls...absolutely nothing.
A cursory reading of 712-1220 (4) & (5) will show:
4) "Gambling. A person engages in gambling if he stakes or risks something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under his control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that he or someone else will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome. Gambling does not include bona fide business transactions valid under the law of contracts, including but not limited to contracts for the purchase or sale at a future date of securities or commodities, and agreements to compensate for loss caused by the happening of chance, including but not limited to contracts of indemnity or guaranty and life, health, or accident insurance."
(5) "Gambling device means any device, machine, paraphernalia, or equipment that is used or usable in the playing phases of any gambling activity, whether that activity consists of gambling between persons or gambling by a person involving the playing of a machine."
These definitions serve to indicate that anything related to, ‘Gambling,’ applies both to players and operators. Furthermore, pursuant to the definition of, ‘Gambling device,’ I would be forced to conclude that an individual conducting online gambling could theoretically have his/her computer construed as a, ‘Gambling Device.’
Furthermore, ‘Gambling,’ is itself a Misdemeanor and is committed when, ‘...the person knowingly advances or participates in any gambling activity.” In the event it is considered a petty misdemeanor, it is still punishable by up to thirty days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
The article immediately above even mentions that enforcement is focused on operators rather than mere players because the act of gambling is a misdemeanor.
Other arrests in the State of Hawaii have included bookies being arrested as well as illegal cockfighting rings, but unsurprisingly, there is no evidence that I can find of an individual being arrested for merely gambling online at an unregulated site.
In conclusion, there can be very little doubt that the State of Hawaii does not care for gambling very much, and at least some of the authorities seem to understand that gambling is, by law, a Misdemeanor for mere players throughout the State. However, with that said, enforcement efforts in the state have focused only on operators rather than players, and that is true of physical gambling locations. When it comes to playing at online sites, as with other states, law enforcement can be believed to have little reason to know about it or care.
However, in looking at the letter of the law, the only redeeming aspect of Hawaii law is that it does not specifically use the words, ‘Online Gambling,’ or, ‘Internet Gambling,’ so I am not going to rank it as, ‘Banned,’ otherwise a plethora of states will end up in that category. Instead, I will suggest that it is very heavily restricted, especially considering the theoretical fines that could be imposed.
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