Gambling in Idaho


Despite Idaho’s longstanding history as a state friendly to card sharps, cowboys, outlaws and professional players, that reputation is steadily easing back into fashion following 20th century betting prohibitions. The abolition of strict gambling laws in Idaho earlier in the has seen the state gradually step into the gambling 21st century.

Residents and visitors in Idaho can purchase lottery tickets at their convenience store, place wagers on horse races, or head to a tribal casino. Tribal casinos have bingo and slot machine styled video gaming terminals, giving Idahoans a full complement of gambling options to choose from.

Idaho Casino Gambling

The sections on gambling in the Idaho Constitution forbids most forms of Casino games and casino gambling. However, there loopholes at the State’s seven Tribal Casinos regarding the offering of lottery type electronic machines, pull-tabs and some limited poker games which are facilitated by a live dealer although the betting options are actually controlled by the machines.

Whilst there are no Commercial Casinos in the state of Idaho, there are seven tribal casinos in the state for the state’s residents and visitors to choose from with an eighth being proposed in 2022. Over 4120 ‘slot machines’ (see the Official Idaho State 2002 proposition that succeeded in redefining slot machines at tribal casinos as “not slot machines.”) and other gaming machine devices are on offer, and minimum bets are as low as $0.01 to a rather conservative and low $50 maximum bet in Idaho’s Tribal Casinos.

Online Casinos in Idaho

Like many other states, Idaho suffers from a distinct problem when it comes to its online gambling laws. To be blunt, there aren’t any online casino laws on the state’s books at all.

Poker in Idaho

Idaho is one of the only states to expressly prohibit poker and poker is illegal at the states’ Tribal Casinos. Obviously, neither does Idaho have any legal Poker Rooms.

Poker Rooms

As recently as 2014, one of Idaho’s Tribal Casinos opened a live poker room. Idaho officials immediately challenged the tribe’s position that poker was legal through the state’s pari-mutuel gambling laws. The state contended that poker was expressly illegal under the state constitution.

The state of Idaho prevailed in the landmark case when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with it in July 2015 and the casino was forced to shut down its poker room immediately.

Online Poker Laws

Online poker in Idaho and video poker online are both implicitly deemed illegal in the state.

While not a direct reference to Online Poker, the Idaho constitution does forbid a class of game that would seem to include online casinos and online poker.  Even if regulated, operators are not allowed to;

“employ any electronic or electromechanical imitation or simulation of any form of casino gambling” (Section 20 Idaho Constitution).

Consequently, there is no regulation or moves towards legalizing online poker in Idaho at the moment. For further details, please refer to the above section on ‘Online Casino in Idaho’.

History of Online & Land-Based Gambling in Idaho

1949:  Casino Table Games Banned in Boise. This instigated the creation of ‘Garden City’ a 17-foot-wide strip of land outside of Boise that legalized gaming in reaction to Boise’s crackdown. The move backfired badly and put in motion the anti-gambling legislation that still exists today.

1953:  Slots Banned in Idaho.

1963:  Legal Horse Racing introduced to Idaho

1989:  Idaho lottery begins, and becomes the most popular gambling format in the State along with nationwide interstate lotteries.

1993:  Charitable Gaming begins in Idaho.

2011:  Simulcast horse racing betting law enacted, and in 2013 was extended to include ‘historic horse races’.

2016: DFS deemed illegal by Idaho’s State Attorney-General.

Visit our Page about Idaho’s Online Sports Betting pages to find the top online sportsbook reviews in the state