Gambling today in Idaho is possible in one of seven land-based or online casinos since there are no laws that explicitly ban offshore online gambling. This article will give you a full overview of gambling regulations in the Gem State, including online and land-based gambling, and which gambling activities are considered legal. For Idaho natives, we’ll introduce the three best brick-and-mortar casinos.
Hopefully, our thorough research and in-depth overview will be of help.
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Throughout the 1800s, gambling laws were set and regulated by each individual town in Idaho. However, a 1953 legislature passed a statewide prohibition law on all forms of gambling.
Even though some forms of gambling were legalized over the years, there are still few options when it comes to gambling activities in Idaho. Pari-mutuel horse race betting was legalized in 1963, state lottery games were legalized in 1989, and tribal gaming and charitable bingo and raffles three and four years later, consequently. More recently, Idaho has legalized off-track betting in 2011 and past horse racing games in 2013. Other than that, all other forms of gambling are considered illegal.
Idaho law defines gambling as “risking any money, credit, deposit or other things of value for gain contingent in whole or in part upon lot, chance, the operation of a gambling device or the happening or outcome of an event, including a sporting event, the operation of casino gambling including, but not limited to, blackjack, craps, roulette, poker, baccarat, or keno.”
Considering this definition, we could say that it is broad enough to cover internet gambling, although it does not specifically mention online gambling.
Gambling activities that include charitable bingo and raffle are permitted with proper licenses, like horse racing, or even duck racing, that need to be held at licensed venues.
Unlawful gambling is punishable by law, and Idaho does not take this matter lightly. Players caught in any illegal gambling activities can be punished for up to six months in jail, with a $1,000 fine, or both.
The legal gambling age in Idaho is 18 years, except in Clearwater Casino, where it’s 21.
Gambling-related matters are covered by Idaho Statutes 18-3801 et seq. and 54-2501 et seq. There are some exceptions to the definition of gambling in Idaho state statutes, including:
Bonafide contests of skill, speed, strength or endurance in which awards are made only to entrants or the owners of entrants; or
Bonafide business transactions which are valid under the law of contracts; or
Games that award only additional play; or
Merchant promotional contests and drawings conducted incidentally to bona fide non-gaming business operations, if prizes are awarded without consideration being charged to participants; or
Other acts or transactions now or hereafter expressly authorized by law.
Additionally, the law also applies to people aware that gambling is taking place and where, whether it’s conducted on personal property, rented property, or under control of the player in question. Concealing gambling activities is considered a misdemeanor.
As we have previously mentioned, there are only a few gambling activities deemed legal in Idaho, including lottery, horse racing, and charitable bingo and raffle. In addition, tribal land-based casinos are also legal.
Idaho allows pari-mutuel betting on horse and dog races, including simulcast betting. Currently, there are more than five horse racing tracks in Idaho.
The lottery is extremely popular in the Gem State since it was legalized in 1989. Interestingly, Idaho Lottery is the first North American lottery that introduced VIP club promotions, allowing users to earn points and spend them on lottery merchandise. All tickets and cards need to be purchased in land-based stores, but the lottery site is modern and mobile-friendly. Players can enjoy local and multi-state draw games, scratchers, instant win games, and pull-tabs.
On the other hand, there are no state-sanctioned bingo sites, and playing bingo on offshore sites is considered a misdemeanor. Bingo is both legal for charity games and as a Class II casino game in tribal casinos. Additionally, raffles are also authorized for charitable causes.
Conversely, there are many more illegal gambling activities in Idaho. If you’re interested in land-based gambling, you will not find any commercial casinos in Idaho, but only tribal casinos.
Poker is strictly prohibited in Idaho, and none of the nine casinos offers competitive poker in their establishments. In the same manner, participating in social games is illegal.
Traditional sports betting and operating a sportsbook is illegal in the state. Even though the federal PASPA ban on sports betting is no longer active, Idaho hasn’t done anything to legalize sports betting.
Additionally, Daily Fantasy Sports are no longer legal in the Gem State, unlike many other states in the US. In 2016, the Idaho Attorney General banned DFS betting as it violated Idaho gambling regulations. Currently, there is a legal battle between the state and DFS companies, but no agreement has yet been reached.
As with many other US states, online gambling in Idaho falls into the gray area. Although there are no specific laws that ban offshore online gambling, it is difficult to determine whether the general gambling regulations apply to online gambling. Both the gambling-related Section 20 of the Idaho Constitution and Section 18 of Idaho Statutes can be interpreted differently.
Ultimately, it is illegal to operate an online gambling platform within Idaho’s borders and for Idaho residents to participate in those gambling activities. Gambling activities such as this one are punishable by law.
However, many Idaho residents are taking part in offshore online gambling since the law does not focus on individual players but on gambling organizations within Idaho state borders.
As we mentioned, there are seven land-based casinos located in Idaho, with all being tribal casinos. All casinos located in Idaho must stick to Class II casino games. With that in mind, Idaho-based casinos offer electronic bingo type slot machines, video poker, keno, roulette, pull-tab games, and other electronic table games.
Take a look at our list of the top three brick-and-mortar casinos in Idaho.
Coeur d’Alene Casino prides itself on being the home to more million-dollar jackpots than anywhere else in the inland northwest. The casino floor has more than 1,300 gaming machines, including video bingo, blackjack, and off-track horse betting. Moreover, the casino space is quite ample — over 100,000 square feet.
For regular players, Coeur d’Alene Casino provides the Coeur rewards plan with fantastic amenities. You can feel the traditional Indian hospitality at the casino and the additional facilities that have been present since 1993. The casino is located in Worley, a city with a population of only 257 people and within the Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation.
The Kootenai complex is part of the Best Western Hotel experience, and it has been operated and owned by the Kootenai Indian tribe since its opening in 1986. The first casino room was opened in 1995 in compliance with the State of Idaho.
The casino floor is equipped with over 440 gaming machines, progressive jackpots, and three casino rooms. Kootenai casino has a unique player’s club where you can earn extra points to spend on free nights, meals, bonus games, and promotions. The casino is located in Bonners Ferry, a small city close to the Canadian border.
Interestingly, the Shoshone-Bannock casino hotel is located in Fort Hall, a census-designated place in the southeastern part of Idaho. However, this casino is quite popular with players because of its large selection of games.
At the Shoshone-Bannock casino, players can enjoy over 900 video gaming machines. Similarly, you can play video blackjack and craps 24 hours every day of the week. If you’re more interested in high limit games, you can visit the casino’s High Limit Area that has 44 gaming machines. Moreover, the casino also hosts bingo nights — you can check the calendar on their website.
Yes, it is. Live horse racing and simulcasts are legal, and pari-mutuel betting is allowed.
There are a lot of lottery games since the lottery is the most popular game in Idaho. Players can choose between Mega Millions, Powerball, Lotto America, 5 Star Draw, Lucky for Life, and more.
There are no laws that explicitly ban online gambling in Idaho when talking about offshore gambling. Currently, online gambling within Idaho is against the law and there are no Idaho-based online gambling operators. However, you can choose to play at offshore online casinos which is perfectly safe.
The legal minimum gambling age is 18 years in Idaho. However, land-based casinos can increase the minimum gambling age to 21.
Is smoking allowed in Idaho casinos?