H.C.R. NO.














urging the united states congress and president of the united states to enact legislation that would legalize and regulate online poker.




WHEREAS, the game of poker is at least a few hundred years old, and the popularity of poker gradually began to rise in the 1970s; and


WHEREAS, after online poker debuted in the late 1990s, poker has grown from a niche game with a rather louche reputation to a more respectable form of entertainment, especially because of the mental agility and acuity the game requires; and


WHEREAS, research firm Christiansen Capital Advisors reported that online-poker revenues grew from $82.7 million in 2001 to $2.4 billion in 2005; and


WHEREAS, online players, the majority of whom live in the United States, are expected to bet approximately $6 billion in 2011; and


WHEREAS, poker can be regarded as a game of skill, because:


(1) The essence of the game is correct decision-making;


(2) To make the right decisions consistently, poker players must employ a range of skills, including a sophisticated knowledge of odds and the ability to directly influence the way an individual hand turns out;


(3) What is called a "bet" in poker is not really a wager on a chance event but actually a maneuver or gambit designed to provoke a desired reaction from an opponent;


(4) Poker players use their "bets" principally to communicate with, manipulate, and intimidate their opponents;


(5) Novice poker players can improve their skills through study, practice, and the accumulation of game experience--similar to golfers and chess and bridge players; and


(6) The existence of numerous poker schools and academies are evidence that poker skills can be taught and learned;




WHEREAS, online poker features characteristics that further reduce the role of chance in determining outcomes in comparison to live poker, such as the fact that online play typically involves many more hands than an ordinary live poker match, because hands are dealt much faster and many players play multiple tables simultaneously; and


WHEREAS, it can be argued that online poker is not a "game subject to chance" that violates the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, 31 United States Code 5361 et seq., and the Wire Act, 18 United States Code 1084; and


WHEREAS, however, the Department of Justice continues to hold the position that poker is a "game subject to chance" and violates both the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act and the Wire Act; and


WHEREAS, the legalization and regulation of online poker could generate much-needed revenues for government at both the state and federal levels; now, therefore,


BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-sixth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2011, the Senate concurring, that Congress and the President are urged to enact legislation that would fully legalize and regulate online poker in order to:


(1) Remove any ambiguities and concerns on the part of players and law-enforcement agencies about whether online poker is a form of gambling that violates the law; and


(2) Enable the state and federal governments to generate much-needed revenues to carry out their responsibilities;




BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to each member of Hawaii's Congressional delegation, the President Pro Tempore and Minority Leader of the United States Senate, the Speaker and Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives, and the President of the United States.









Report Title:

Urging the enactment of legislation by Congress and the President that would legalize and regulate online poker