Maui Discussion

Ask the Mayor: Are Card Tricks Allowed at Bars?

November 13, 2016, 12:00 PM HST
* Updated November 14, 4:03 PM
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Maui Now file photo. Nov. 2016

Maui Now file photo. Nov. 2016

Ask the Mayor:

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the questions submitted to his office staff.

Submit your own questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email at [email protected], call 270-7855 or send them by mail to 200 S. High St., 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column.

Aloha Mayor,

Q: Is it legal to have playing cards for magic tricks in a bar where alcohol is being served? A cocktail waitress told me it isn’t allowed but I can’t find anywhere in our liquor laws that say that.


A: The short answer to this rather complex question is this: personal use is fine, entertainment purposes require a permit.


The presence of cards in a bar has generated many inquiries to the county Department of Liquor Control over the past decades, so thank you for submitting this one.

The enforcement division provided this information, which I hope is helpful:

Currently, a deck of cards is not considered as a game device. Customers sitting at a bar playing solitaire or doing a few magic tricks for laughs with friends are not considered official “entertainment.”


However, if a person is doing magic tricks with the intent of entertaining guests/patrons at a venue where alcohol is served, that is considered “entertainment” and would trigger the need for a permit. The permit would be required regardless of whether the entertainer is being compensated or not; it is based on the intent of the use of the cards at the establishment.



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