Idaho residents have plenty of land-based gambling options to choose from. Casino enthusiasts are free to enjoy their favorite slots and table games in tribal gambling establishments, while horse racing and greyhound racing aficionados can engage in pari-mutuel betting, which is available in the designated live and simulcast facilities.
Other than that, Idaho has charity gambling events and operates its own lottery. Like most states, Idaho hasn’t regulated its iGaming market yet, which means that the local businesses aren’t allowed to operate intrastate internet gambling sites.
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Idaho has several native tribes and a long history of legalized gambling. The website VisitIdaho.org claims the state is home to more than 30 casinos. Sounds like a gambler’s paradise…. but not so fast. Before you plan a weeklong gambling trip through the state of Idaho, there are a few things you should know.
Gambling in Idaho is limited to Class II license games – namely bingo, keno, and pull tabs. Class III licenses, which allow for table games and traditional slot machines, are strictly forbidden by a 1992 amendment to the state’s constitution:
No activities permitted by subsection (1) shall employ any form of casino gambling, including but not limited to blackjack, craps, roulette, poker, baccarat, keno, and slot machines.
This amendment was further revised in 2002, allowing video machines that closely resemble slot machines but don’t violate the law. The tribal casinos operating in Idaho host such video machines, but they cannot offer customers traditional or electronic table games.
The seven main tribal casinos in Idaho are:
The minimum age to play at a casino in Idaho is 18.
Online casinos are illegal.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in May has done nothing to change the status of sports betting in Idaho. Sports gambling is illegal in the state and is expected to remain that way for the foreseeable future.
State Lottery official David Workman spoke of a possible change, “The way that the state constitution reads, absent a change of those, it’s an interesting decision for other states, but for Idaho right now it’s going to be status quo.”
State representative Dustin Manwaring was slightly more political in his response, saying, “I think we need to be pretty cautious before we change policy in Idaho. But I’m anticipating and look forward to the debate to see what Idahoans think.”
So far, no legislation regarding sports betting legalization has been introduced in the state.
Daily fantasy sports are illegal in Idaho.
In 2016, DraftKings and FanDuel reached a public consensus with the Idaho Attorney General’s office. The DFS giants agreed to pull out of the state, close the pay accounts of any Idaho customers, and in return, assume no liability for violating Idaho state law.
The Attorney General commented on the agreement, “I commend the companies for negotiating in good faith and agreeing not to make these contests available in Idaho.”
All other companies have pulled out of the state, and there are no DFS companies operating legally in Idaho. However, the agreement reached in 2016 states that in the event that Idaho changes its laws, all DFS operators are free to return.
Horse racing is legal in Idaho, although it’s far from thriving. In 2018, live racing was held at seven different venues, but only for 27 days in total.
Off-track betting is legal but only readily available at the Coeur D’Alene Casino Hotel & Resort in Worley. The establishment offers simulcast racing seven days a week, and its tellers open every morning at 9 am.
You must be at least 18 to place a pari-mutuel wager in Idaho.
In 2014, the Coeur D’Alene Casino opened a poker room, but the establishment was immediately sued by the authorities for breaking the law and compact it had signed with the state. The case went all the way to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, where the casino lost.
That was the last real effort to open a poker room in Idaho – they remain illegal, as do online poker rooms.
The Idaho Lottery has been around since 1989, with 50% of all net funds raised going to public schools, and the remainder donated to the state’s colleges and universities. The lottery offers scratch-off tickets and insta-play games, as well as the following draw games:
For prizes of $5,000 or more, taxes are withheld at a federal rate of 24% and a state rate of 6.925%. Winnings must be claimed within 180 days of the drawing.
You must be at least 18 years old to purchase a lottery ticket at one of the 1,200+ authorized retailers.
Along with the bingo halls located at several tribal casinos in Idaho, there is a charitable exception for authorized non-profit organizations that apply for a license from the state. License holders must adhere to the following rules:
There are 30 bingo halls situated in the state of Idaho.