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Kokua Line

Hawaii residents allowed to gamble while on mainland

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QUESTION: With the news about the California resident winning the MEGA Millions prize from a ticket purchased at an L&L Barbecue in California, I had a couple of questions: Would it be legal for a Hawaii resident to go the mainland, purchase a lottery ticket from another state and claim the prize if they won? Would it be legal for a Hawaii resident to send money to a mainland resident and have them purchase a ticket for them and claim the prize if they won?

ANSWER: It boils down to this: You can buy a lottery ticket in another state and, if you win, you can keep the prize even if you’re back home in Hawaii.

But you cannot send money to someone to buy a ticket for you in another state, then claim the winnings here.

We explained Hawaii’s gambling law as it pertains to purchasing lottery tickets or participating in out-of-state sweepstakes several years ago—see

According to the Honolulu Police Department’s Narcotics/Vice Division, nothing has changed since then.

Basically, it is illegal to gamble in Hawaii, unless it is "social gambling."

In order to be considered social gambling, all these factors have to be involved:

» Everyone involved must compete on equal terms with each other.

» No player receives anything of value other than his personal winnings.

» No other person can receive anything of value or any profit from any source.

» It is not taking place at any business establishment of any kind or at any public area.

» None of the players is below the age of 18.

» The gambling does not involve bookmaking, in which bets on the outcome of future events or games are accepted.

Outside of social gambling, while in Hawaii you cannot legally gamble by phone, by mail, by Internet or by someone buying a ticket for you at your request.

But if a Hawaii resident gambles in a city or state where gambling is allowed, the winnings can be brought back home because the gambling didn’t occur here.

By the same token, if you’re gambling on the Internet, even if the gambling is taking place in another country, you’re doing so illegally because you’re doing it from Hawaii.

For more information about Hawaii’s gambling laws, go to HPD’s website:


To Hawaiian Electric Co. for an example of a model of planning, preparation and execution. HECO notified our condominium association about a transformer replacement project. Five days later, Wesley Tashiro, a resource planner, returned my call and in the afternoon, I spoke with a HECO driver. The job was scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. "No parking" signs on Dominis Street allowed the trucks to be in place by 8 a.m. A two-man cherry picker truck was positioned in a neighboring condo’s stalls, near the power pole, leaving the block open for traffic. The cables were disconnected; the new transformer was placed on the padmount (concrete stand); the new cables were connected to the power pole. The workers were constantly in motion and always kept the work area clean at each step of the job. I returned to my condo unit at 12:40 p.m. and the power was back on! Thank you, HECO, for completing this project professionally and with a minimum of inconvenience. Thank you also to our neighbors, especially the owners of the parking spaces at the Punahou Manor Condominium.—T. Ishii

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