Idaho, the “Gem” state, doesn’t have that many gems to be found in the casino industry. It is one of the most conservative states in the US and prohibits many forms of gambling. The US state law is quite clear in what is deemed to be illegal. Although the law is clear as to what is illegal there are still some grey areas that have not been addressed both State and Federally.
Having said not all forms of gambling is illegal. There are some forms of gambling which is legal and we will delve further in this guide. We also discuss sports betting, horse and dog racing, land based casinos, online casinos and slots.
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Idaho Online Gambling
Yes, online gambling in the state of Idaho is illegal. Plain and simple. Having said that, there is no precedence of any player having been imposed a penalty, fine, or charge for that matter. The legal enforcement is not warranted, particularly if you are simply playing from the privacy of your own home. So if you are concerned about playing online, fear not, the risk is negligible.
Idaho ranks as the 41st in the US for playing at offshore online casinos. Wagering an estimated $3.0 million per year, it ranks just above Rhode Island and behind Mississippi. The state with the largest wagering for offshore online casino is California at $180 million.
Online Idaho Bingo
In States that are relatively restrictive in law, often Bingo online is found to be a popular game to play. The opportunity to play bingo online is typical, as it is easy to draw comparison with the live bingo held at bingo halls or in parlors. Bingo online is therefore a popular game in Idaho, and many residents are drawn to the convenience and variety.
Idaho partakes in the multi jurisdictional lottery of Mega Millions and Powerball. It also has its own state lottery that is drawn each week.
The funds raised from the state lottery is used for public services such as schools and infrastructure.
All around America, there are many US states that are making changes to their laws to allow sports betting. Unfortunately, Idaho is not one of them. In the long term, there may be an opportunity, but currently as it stands there is no political will to even suggest a change in the law to allow sports betting.
Overview of Idaho Casinos
Although the title suggests that Idaho has “casinos”, these places of gambling do not offer any table games as we know it. They could be considered as bars with many video poker machine, slot machines, bingo, keno and for one exception a poker room.
In Idaho you will find 16 casinos with over 4,121 slots and some gaming machines.
Shoshone-Bannock Casino Hotel
Formerly known as Fort Hall Casino & Hotel, this is a relatively old, small but quaint casino that consists of 900 gaming machines including slots, video poker, electronic roulette, and Galaxy Gaming virtual blackjack with up to 5 players per table. It’s a Native American Casino nice people, nice service, and great fun to be had.
They also run regular promotions on a fairly frequent basis which keeps things interesting even if you are a regular patron.
Coeur D’Alene Casino Resort Hotel
A unique design of two hotel towers, 100,000 square feet of casino floor space, and eight distinctive eateries. A massive mixture of approximately 2,000 gaming machines including shuffle-Master electronic tables, slots, video poker, and keno as well as a bingo hall. It also has Idaho’s only operating poker room.
Promotions are also quite frequent on a monthly basis providing great benefits for regular visitors.
Great place for a weekend stay over, or a drop by. You can take their virtual tour here to experience what it’s like before visiting.
Clearwater River Casino & Lodge17500 Nez Perce Road, Lewiston, Idaho
As the name suggests it has the theme of a lodge to give a more family vibe. Unlike its competitors that are usually themed of upmarket Las Vegas lights and action, Clearwater River Casino displays a real rustic and good old fashion down to earth fun.
Drop by to play one of the 600 video machines, have a go at the live bingo, have a meal lunch/dinner. They have regular events although most of them are tailored towards Bingo, and frequent promotions occuring on a weekly basis. Great atmosphere friendly staff and great food. It’s also one of the best casinos that promotes awareness of its history and culture.
Bannock Peak Casino
Bannock Peak (Staton) Casino is a pretty small casino owned by
Shoshone-Bannock Tribes but is extremely accessible while traveling near Arbon Valley / Pocatello, Idaho. The casino has 60 slot machines on a 2,700 square feet premises (yes, they only have slots and no other games) and is a truck stop as well. Small place, nice staff but not a very impressive venue if you’re actively looking to gamble.
Sage Hill Travel Center & Casino
Sage Hill Travel Center & Casino is located off I-15 exit 89 South of Blackfoot. It is the newest addition to the Shoshone Bannock Tribe’s casino offerings. Visitors will find 100 slots and video poker machines, no table games, and no bingo hall. Good people and good serving of food for a good price.
It’se Ye-Ye Bingo & Casino
419 Third Street, Kamiah, Idaho 83536
The casino offers about 110 slots and video gaming machines, a bingo room and a restaurant. Small casino, nice atmosphere but not the greatest of venues but they do hold regular weekly promotions.
Best Western Plus Kootenai River Inn Casino & Spa7169 Plaza St, Bonners Ferry, ID 83805, USA
The casino is separated into three distinct areas with one of them non-smoking, so if you are a non-smoker you will love this casino. Total playing area, including the 150 seat bingo hall, there is over 30,000 square feet holding over 500 electronic gaming machines. There is also a restaurant. The casino is small but really great service.
Idaho Gambling Laws
“Gambling” means risking any money, credit, deposit or other thing of value for gain contingent in whole or in part upon lot, chance, the operation of a gambling device or the happening or outcome of an event, including a sporting event, the operation of casino gambling including, but not limited to, blackjack, craps, roulette, poker, bacarrat or keno…
It’s very clear that most forms of gambling are illegal. The clarity or lack of ambiguity is indicative of the conservative values of the state. Idaho is one of the many states which is currently has opposition to changing the state laws to allow for sports betting and/or broadening its defining of legal gaming.
As with other states Native American land is governed by a federal act and therefore you will find in Idaho that there are several venues which off games which would not have been accepted as legal under state governed law.
A Lawyer’s Opinion
Idaho has a positive relationship with casinos and gambling with Tribal casinos, charitable gambling, racebook making and pari-mutuel betting, and the state-run lottery all being permitted. The state is strictly against slots, prohibited even their possession unless they are displayed (but not used) for antique enjoyment. See Idaho Statutes § 18-3801 et seq.; Idaho Statutes § 54-2501 et seq.
Sports Betting: General bookmaking is prohibited; however, the creation of online sportsbooks (including for fantasy sports) is unregulated legal in the state of Idaho, and there has been little action by state legislators to change this. Thus, while there are no operators inside the state, numerous domestic and offshore platforms do accept Idaho residents, including DraftKings and FanDuel.
Race Betting: Like in many states, horse and greyhound betting is legal in Idaho at its racing tracks as well as other venues that allow pari-mutuel betting. The licensed domestic platforms of TGV and BetAmerica operate in the state.
Online Gambling: Traditional casino games are prohibited in the state’s live casinos, but the world of online gambling remains unregulated. Thus, players who wish to participate in online poker and similar games may do so through domestic and offshore platforms.
Online Gaming: Skill games are permitted, and the U.S.-based WorldWinner accepts bets on games of skill (such as Scrabble and Bejeweled) from Idaho residents.
The information in this multi-state research is made available by a licensed, U.S. attorney, and is for informational purposes only. We make no representations that the information is complete or correct in its entirety. It should not be construed as providing specific legal advice, and you acknowledge that no attorney/client relationship exists between us. This brief should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed gambling and entertainment lawyer in your state.