This northwestern U.S. state is famous for potatoes and precious gemstones. What it is not known for is commercial casino gambling and sports betting.
Even with the Supreme Court striking down a federal ban on sports betting in May 2018, there has been little government interest to legalize this type of gambling in Idaho.
The good news for residents of the Gem State is the fact that they are surrounded by neighboring jurisdictions where they can place bets on their favorite professional and college sports teams.
Washington and Oregon are looking at proposals to legalize sports betting, while Montana has already gone through the regulatory work to allow gambling on games.
Of course, Idaho's neighbor to the south, Nevada, is the U.S. mecca of sports betting and has been open for business for decades.
Another option for Idaho residents is to join trusted offshore sites, like top-ranked Bovada, which offers betting lines in just about any event where there's a score or result.
Betting Laws in Idaho
More than 1.7 million people live in Idaho, a state known for its mountainous landscapes and outdoor recreational areas. Boise, set in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, is the state capital and its largest city with a population of more than 225,000 residents.
Gambling laws in this Pacific Northwest state — whether it's buying a ticket in the Idaho Lottery or playing the gaming terminals at the Coeur d'Alene Casino — is regulated at the state level.
All legalized gambling in Idaho is limited to the following areas:
- Tribal casino gambling
- Pari-mutuel wagering
- Charitable gambling
Residents who are 18 years of age and older can participate in the state's lottery, pari-mutuel wagering on horse and dog races, bingo, raffles, slot-styled video terminals and charitable gambling. Players must be 21 years old to enter one of the state's tribal casinos.
While commercial casinos are prohibited under state law, there are Native American-run casinos available on tribal land regulated by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988. Because of strict anti-gambling laws, the tribal casinos only offer video gaming terminals and bingo. There are seven Indian casinos owned and operated by four Native American tribes throughout Idaho.
The largest casino in the state is Coeur D’Alene Casino Resort Hotel in Worley, with more than 1,400 gaming machines but no table games. Fort Hall Casino and Hotel in Fort Hall is the next largest venue with 900-plus gaming machines, a 156-room hotel with suites, four restaurants and live entertainment.
Pari-mutuel horse racing was legalized in the state in 1964, immediately making existing racetracks legal and allowing additional facilities to be opened in the same year.
Online horse betting became legal in July 2014, allowing Historic Horse Race betting or “instant racing” machines.
Les Bois Park in Boise was the single commercial track in Idaho. It closed in March 2018. Live racing ended the year before. The pari-mutuel facility stayed open a few more months by offering simulcast betting and “instant racing” machines.
Lawmakers failed to approve a proposal for a state lottery in January 1983. Nearly four years later, residents got what they wanted when they voted for the lottery. But legal procedures took almost two years before the first draw was made in 1989.
Today, Idaho has a number of daily draws and scratch-card and pull-tab type games. It also offers multi-state drawing games like Mega Millions, Powerball, Hot Lotto and Wild Card.
Public schools benefit from 50 per cent of all net funds, while the remainder is pledged to the Permanent Building Fund, which is used as a financial resource for the state's colleges and universities.
Idaho Sports Betting Laws
States can now officially legalize sports betting after the Supreme Court struck down a federal ban in May 2018. Interest in the legalization of sports betting has been ramping up in many parts of the U.S. in recent years, but not in Idaho.
It has left interested residents who want to bet on their favorite teams with the options of traveling to participating neighboring states — like Wyoming and Nevada — or visiting trusted offshore sites like Bovada, which takes minutes to join and offers cash bonuses for new members.
Sports betting has been a massive revenue generator for many states that have allowed land-based sports books to post odds and take bets. Idaho is one of the remaining few states in the country that currently does not have any proposed legislation to legalize the form of gambling in any way.
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Idaho's Favorite Sports Teams
Idaho is bordered by six neighboring states in the Pacific Northwest. While the state doesn't have any professional sports teams of its own, fans can follow many major league teams from this area of the country.
In the NFL, it's the Seattle Seahawks, who have won one Super Bowl (2013) and three conference titles. In the NBA, it's the Portland Trail Blazers, who have also won one league championship (1977) and three conference titles. In baseball, the closest major league team is the Seattle Mariners, who have never won a World Series title.
Idaho also has two collegiate programs which often figure prominently on the national sports stage. Brigham Young is located in Rexburg, while Boise State calls the capital city home. The Broncos have 20 different varsity teams.