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.
If you want to play online poker and casino games or you’d like to wager on your favorite sports over the internet in Idaho, your only option is to go for one of the numerous US-facing offshore gambling platforms. The legal status of those sites is somewhat ambiguous, as neither Idaho Constitution nor Idaho Statutes criminalize the act of gambling online using a site that hasn’t been licensed by the state. Participating in illegal live games is considered a misdemeanor, but the local authorities have never tried prosecuting online gamblers for breaking the laws that were drafted with land-based gambling in mind.
Getting the best gambling experience for the money you invest isn’t all that hard if you get your priorities straight. For example, if you’re a poker player, you should focus on finding a poker room with the best traffic stats, as this will guarantee that cash games will be filled 24/7 and that the tournaments will have satisfying guaranteed prize pools. The same holds true for most casinos and sportsbooks, as bigger sites are able to afford to offer better prices, promotions, and diversity in terms of games or available markets.
How Do I Get Started?
Okay, you’ve picked the site that you’d like to play on. What’s next? The first step would be to actually create an online gambling account, which requires you to fill out a registration form. The next step is to confirm your identity by submitting a scan or a photo of an ID document.
Finally, you should make your first deposit by opening the cashier menu, picking one of the supported banking methods and going through with the transaction.
How Do I Get My Money if I Win?
You’re free to request a withdrawal whenever you want – all you need to do is open the cashier menu, confirm that you’d like to request a cash out, pick the preferred banking method and confirm the transaction. Most requests take about 24 or 48 hours to process. This means that you’re pretty much guaranteed to get your money within 14 days if you ask for a standard bank wire transfer.
What is the minimum age to gamble online in Idaho?
Idaho residents have to be at least 18 years old in order to gamble – both online and offline.
How do I open an account?
The registration process is fairly intuitive. All you have to do is open the registration page, enter your personal information as required and submit the form. Gambling for real money requires you to verify your account by proving your identity. In most cases sending a scan of a photo ID is enough.
Where can I open my account from?
Idaho-based players can register on most sites from anywhere in the US.
From where can I access Idaho online gambling sites?
Anywhere in the US is going to be fine. Some sites also accept connections from abroad. However, you should be careful not to break any local regulations whenever you aren’t playing from Idaho. Playing on offshore sites is a felony in Washington and Utah.
Where can I familiarize myself with the official regulations over gambling in Idaho?
Section 18 of Idaho Statutes.
How do I deposit to my online gambling account?
You need to use the cashier menu to make a deposit. Offshore sites usually don’t give you a lot of options when it comes to payment methods – in some cases, you might be forced to go for a standard credit/debit card payment.
How do I withdraw my winnings?
You can place a cash out request using the cashier menu. All you need to do is pick the most convenient banking method (usually you’ll have a choice between a wire transfer and a check by courier) and enter the amount of money that you’d like to withdraw.
Is my money safe?
Your money is guaranteed to be safe if you play on one of the reliable sites listed here.
What body regulates gambling in Idaho?
Idaho Lottery and Idaho State Racing Commission.