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Hawaii State Lotteries Laws

Maybe you’ve heard stories from the mainland: someone from Maine, Maryland, or Michigan winning a Mega Millions drawing. And you’ve wondered why you can’t walk into a store and walk out with a ticket to a life on easy street. They say you have to be in it to win it, and without state-sanctioned lottery anywhere on the islands, Aloha State residents are out of luck on the lotto. This is a quick introduction to lotteries laws in Hawaii.

Lotteries Laws in Hawaii

A total of 44 states have a state-run lottery, and Hawaii is one of the six that don’t. The other states that ban lotteries are Alabama and Mississippi in the Bible Belt, western neighbors Utah and Nevada (for different reasons), and fellow regional outlier Alaska.

Hawaii’s criminal code is clear: participating in any gambling is a misdemeanor while promoting gambling can be a class C felony. It's not illegal for Hawaii residents to purchase tickets for out-of-state lotteries, however the sale of lottery tickets from other states is prohibited within state lines. Hawaii’s gambling and state lotteries prohibition is listed below.

Code Section

Offense of gambling is prohibited.

Hawaii Revised Statutes 712-1220, et seq.: Gambling Offenses

Distribution of Lottery Revenue


Additional Purpose of Lottery


Lottery Prize Subject to Garnishment


Time Limit to Claim Prize/Disposition


Prohibited Related Activities


Lotteries Laws, Generally

In states where a government-sanctioned lottery is permitted, state lottery laws regulate everything from the where, how, and to whom of ticket sales and how long a winner has to claim a prize, to which state-funded programs will receive lottery proceeds. Most states allocate their lottery proceeds to a general fund, and from there the lottery revenue is earmarked for specific projects like transportation and infrastructure construction, public education initiatives, or funds for environmental protections. Federal law also allows states to participate in national lottery pools, such as Powerball and Mega Millions, as well as multi-state contests like Monopoly Millionaire’s Club along with their own state-specific lotteries.

Related Resources for State Lotteries Laws in Hawaii

State lotteries laws can vary, and are subject to change. And trying to figure out whether your buddy’s poker night or office March Madness pool violates Hawaii’s gambling prohibitions may be difficult. You can consult with an experienced Hawaii gaming law attorney in your area if you would like legal help with a lottery or gambling law matter. And FindLaw’s section on Gaming Law can provide you with further reading and resources on this topic.

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