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Gambling Idaho

Some of the strictest gambling laws in The United States are in Idaho. Not many gambling-related activities are legal in the state. There is a long history of changes in state laws as different rules have come into effect. Below, we’ll look at what you can legally bet on in Idaho.

History of gambling in Idaho

In the 1800s, it was legal to participate in gambling-related activities in Idaho. Each town had its regulations that the gambling houses adhered to. However, this changed in 1953, when the state passed prohibition laws.

In the years that followed, numerous gambling activities became legal:

  • 1963: Pari-mutuel horse race betting.
  • 1989: The state lottery officially started operating.
  • 1992: Tribal casinos allowed for gambling.
  • 1993: Charitable bingo and raffles
  • 2002: Video gaming machines are allowed in tribal casinos.
  • 2011: Off-track betting was legalized, followed by past horse racing, which allows you to bet on replays of horse races.
  • 2021: Gamblers can to take part in charitable raffle games, the state lottery, tribal casinos, and horse racing. However, card games like blackjack and poker remain illegal.

Not all types of gambling are allowed in Idaho. For example, gambling online and sports betting is illegal.

To place bets on casino games, you will have to visit tribal casinos in Idaho, which are allowed to operate under federal Indian gaming laws. You can also play the state lottery legally in Idaho. For sports lovers, the only legally permitted betting is horse racing.

Despite the stringent gambling laws in Idaho, residents of the state still enjoy placing bets and playing casino games. They have some safe and legal options that don’t involve offshore casinos.

Some of the most popular games are:

  • Charitable organizations operate bingo and raffle games.
  • Parimutuel Horse race betting
  • The state lottery

No, at the moment, the state’s laws prohibit online casinos and sports betting that take real money bets from operating within the state.

However, there’s no law against driving to nearby states that allow online gambling. When you’re physically out of Idaho and in a state where gambling is legal, you can register with an online casino and place bets with real money. However, it is important to keep in mind that you will have to withdraw your winnings while in that state.

Idaho gambling laws

Under the laws of Idaho, gambling is defined as the act of risking money or other things of value to predict the outcome of an event. This covers sports betting and casino gambling games such as poker, roulette, and keno. Online gambling and sports betting is also covered in this definition.

Since it is illegal to bet and gamble in Idaho, there are several consequences for those who break the law. It is considered a misdemeanor, and you can be prosecuted.

Benefits of gambling in Idaho

There are many reasons people in Idaho take up gambling. The most apparent are:

  • Entertainment: It helps players relax as they can enjoy the vast selection of games with the highs and lows of winning and losing.
  • Social interactions: You have the chance to meet new people who have similar gambling-related interests as you.
  • Economic benefits: Jobs can be created around the gambling industry, and tax revenues increase the state’s exchequer.

Cons of gambling in Idaho

A significant downside of gambling Idaho is dependency. Unfortunately, some players don’t know when to quit, and might spend more than they can afford. For example, there is evidence that low-income earners are the most likely to purchase lottery tickets in the hopes of winning big. Players may even turn to borrowing money to take part in gambling.

Always gamble responsibly

Fortunately, there are some resources available for those who need help. If you feel like your gambling is getting out of control, check for self-exclusion options with your chosen casino. For example, you can also get limits on how much you can deposit or how much you can bet in a single day.

Gambling is meant to be entertaining, with winning and losing being an integral part of the experience. Knowing when to walk away is vital for all gamblers.


While the laws regarding gambling are stringent in Idaho, there are still opportunities for residents to enjoy placing bets legally. You can participate in horse racing or visit a tribal casino. Alternatively, you could drive to neighboring states where all types of gambling, including online betting are legal and enjoy gambling there. Keep in mind that betting online and sports betting is illegal in the state, and doing so, may end in state prosecution.

When you do gamble legally, remember to do so responsibly to ensure you get the most out of your gambling pastime.