What types of gambling are legal in Idaho?
Idaho offers several forms of legalized gambling. This includes a state lottery, horseracing, tribal casinos and tribal casinos. Sports betting is not legal in the state. No effort has been made to change that since the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was nullified by the US Supreme Court in 2018.
Tribal casinos may only offer slots. This includes video poker and keno. There are no table games at Idaho casinos.
This list shows the types of gambling found in Idaho and where to find it:
- Horseracing (live, off-track and mobile)
- Greyhound racing (off-track and mobile)
- Lottery (scratch-offs and lotto sales at retailers)
- Slots, keno, video poker and electronic table games (at the state’s tribal casinos)
- Bingo and raffles (registered charities and tribal casinos)
Online Gambling in Idaho
The only form of gambling that is legal in the eyes of state law is off-track betting on horse and dog racing. BetAmerica, XpressBet, Idabet, TVG and Twin Spires are among the companies that accept bets from Idaho players.
Daily fantasy sports are not legal in Idaho. The same goes for online poker, casino games or sports betting.
Online Gambling Laws in Idaho
The state does not expressly permit any form of online gambling outside of horse and dog racing. These pari-mutuel activities are permitted under the Horseracing Act of 1978. All other forms of online gambling are deemed illegal under Title 18 Chapter 38 of the Idaho Statues.
Land-based Casinos in Idaho
There are seven casinos on Idaho. All are on reservations. Players may choose from slots, video poker, keno, electronic table games and bingo. Live table games, including poker, are not permitted. Casino-style gambling is only legal on tribal land. Commercial casinos are illegal.
Casino Laws in Idaho
Title 18 Chapter 38 of the Idaho Statues forbids all games of chance unless specifically exempted. Table games like blackjack, crap, roulette, poker and baccarat are mentioned in the ban. The seven tribal casinos are exempted from this law through gaming compacts. However, this only applies to electronic devices like slots, video poker and elctronic table games. Idaho tribal casinos may not spread live table games.
Sports Betting in Idaho
Sports betting is illegal in Idaho. This includes live and online forms.
Sports Betting Laws in Idaho
Sports betting is illegal in Idaho in any form. Title 18 Chapter 38 of the Idaho Statutes forbids bookmaking and pool selling for commercial purposes. This applies to live and online versions. A conviction on illegal bookmaking is a misdemeanor. Punishment can include a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail.
Poker in Idaho
Poker is illegal in Idaho. This covers any game commercially dealt for cash, including online and at tribal casinos. Poker may not be played in any commercial venue in the state if the player must buy into the game.
Coeur d’Alene Casino at Worley tried dealing poker tournaments in 2014, claiming that the games fell under a skill exemption. That argument was unsuccessful. The courts ruled that Texas Hold’em tournaments violated state law. None of the casinos in Idaho deal live poker.
Poker Laws in Idaho
Poker is banned in Idaho under Title 18 Chapter 38 of the Idaho Statues. It is specifically named as an illegal game. Operating commercial poker games in the state is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Home Poker Games
Home poker games do not have any exemptions from Idaho law. There are no social gaming exceptions. Home poker games are illegal in the state, regardless of whether there is a rake or not.
Fantasy Sports in Idaho
Fantasy sports is illegal in Idaho. No major operators accept players from within the state.
Fantasy Sports Laws in Idaho
In 2016, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden opined that daily fantasy sports are illegal in the state under anti-gambling laws. FanDuel and DraftKings signed agreements with the state and immediately left the market. The opinion was never challenged in court. The state legislature never took up the issue.
The Idaho State Lottery sells tickets to a variety of games. This includes lotto drawings, scratch-offs, pull tabs, raffles and InstaPlay. It offers about 20 instant games and 10 scratch-off and pull-tab ones.
Interstate Idaho Lotto Drawings
- Lotto America
- Lucky for Life
- Mega Millions
Intrastate Idaho Lotto Drawings
- 5 Star Draw
- Idaho Cash
- Pick 3
- Weekly Grand
Idaho Lottery Laws
The Idaho Lottery was created through two constitutional referendums. Initiative 1 was approved by a 60-40 margin in 1986. This created a state lottery commission. In 1988, House Joint Resolution 3 was presented to voters. It allowed the legislature to create a state lottery. It passed by a 52-48 margin. The minimum age for lottery players is 18.
Idaho Lottery ticket must be purchased at a retailer. Online sales are prohibited.
Idaho Horse Racing
There were seen active horseracing tracks in Idaho in 2020. Those are located at Pocatello Downs, Intermountain Racing, Rupert Downs, Jerome Horse Racing, Oneida County Fairboard, Cassia County Fairboard and Eastern Idaho Fairboard. Off-track betting on horses and greyhounds is permitted on mobile apps and sites operated by BetAmerica, XpressBet, Idabet, TVG and Twin Spires.
Idaho Horse Racing Betting Laws
Title 54 Chapter 25 covers Idaho’s racing laws. It is regulated by the Idaho State Police’s Racing Commission. Simulcast betting is legal under the federal Horseracing Act of 1978. Bettors must be at least 18 years old.
Idaho Skill-based Gaming Laws
Gambling in Idaho is defined as putting anything of value on an event that includes any amount of chance. This leaves little in the way of exception. The only types of events that would be permitted are ones where no luck is included in the outcome. This would be contests like chess, checkers, or contests of speed or strength.
eSports are not addressed anywhere in Idaho gambling laws. The skill-based exception would permit wagers between participants in many cases. Observers placing wagers is illegal, even if done between friends, as there are no social gaming exceptions to Idaho gambling law.
Traditional Games of Skill
Skill gaming sites and apps are permitted in Idaho. This includes ones like Worldwinner. The games must be entirely skill-based with element of chance.
Skill-based Gaming Machines
Skill-based gaming machines are legal. However, cash may not be paid as prizes. It must be merchandise or free credits on the game.
Idaho Charity Gambling Laws
Idaho charities may hold raffles, bingo games and duck races. The maximum prize may not be over $1,000. Players must be at least 18 years old. Charity gambling is regulated by the Idaho Lottery.