Idaho is the definition of making something out of nothing. It’s impressive how a state who’s had slots banned for almost 70 years and no laws to allow for poker or table games can still get away with casino gambling at the Gem State’s 7 tribal casinos. Unbeknownst to them, the anti-gambling state of Idaho had opened the door to all of this by giving in to legalization for a state lottery.
Idaho Legal Gambling History
Idaho is like other state’s in the West where gambling and vice went hand in hand with early pioneers, followed by a puritan backlash by later settlers. Idaho let down its guard a little bit in 1947 when it gave slots a brief run. This ended in 1953 when slots were banned and found unconstitutional by state lawmakers.
10 years later, in 1963, Idaho passed a Horse Racing Act which legalized pari-mutuel horse race betting. While track bettings popularity has taken the back burner to other forms of more innovative gambling found in the state, the market attempts to expand by offering electronic gaming machines that everyone in Idaho seems to be benefiting from these days. The state has 10 race tracks, 2 of which offer off-track betting.
It’s true that Idaho had legalized track betting, but the fact remains that they are and always have been cold towards gambling. The fight to legalize a state lottery was long and drawn out. Its success and establishment came from a 2 year long citizens initiative that passed in a ballot vote in 1988. The state, already on-edge about a lottery, had unknowingly opened the door up for more forms of gambling to come through by legalizing it.
That same year, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed. None of the state’s tribes entered into compacts with the state. In 1994 charitable gaming was legalized in Idaho. Bingo and other similar veined games were the only offerings until some of the state’s tribes began putting “slots” into their establishments. The state was not happy.
Idaho’s tribal casinos fought Idaho in court and won. Their basis was that their “slots” were really just “electronic lottery machines’. They argued that if the state can offer a lottery than they should be able to as well. Now, you can find all types of casino gaming electronically in Idaho tribal casinos – poker, blackjack, craps, roulette, baccarat, craps, and more.
Idaho Gambling Legal Status
In Idaho, casino gambling is restricted to the state’s 7 tribal casinos where table games are illegal. However, you can play electronic forms of table games and slots.
Track betting, pari-mutuels, simulcast, electronic gaming machines, and off-track betting are legal in Idaho.
The state lottery is legal, which includes scratch-offs, Powerball, and Mega Millions.
Online gambling, sports betting, and daily fantasy sports are illegal in Idaho.
The legal age to gamble at Idaho casinos and race tracks is 21. The state lottery and bingo are 18 years of age and older.
Idaho Land-Based Casinos
Idaho is home to 7 tribal casinos that offer a variety of electronic gaming such as slots, poker, blackjack, baccarat, and roulette. Important to note is that casino gambling is still illegal in Idaho, so these games are under the guise of “electronic lottery machines”. They do not pay out real money either. Instead, these machines print out receipts that can be cashed out at the casino cashier’s cage.
The 7 tribal casinos in Idaho are:
- Bannock Peak Casino
- Clearwater River Casino and Lodge
- Coeur D’Alene Casino Resort Hotel
- Fort Hall Casino
- It’Se-Ye-Ye Casino
- Kootenai River Inn Casino and Spa
- Sage Hill Casino
Idaho Race Tracks
It’s true. Idaho loves its horse and dog races. The state is home to 10 racecourses which are the following:
- Cassia County Fairgrounds
- Eastern Idaho Fairgrounds
- Gem County Fairgrounds
- Jerome Horseracing
- Les Bois Park
- Oneida County Fairgrounds
- Pocatello Downs
- Intermountain Racing
- Rupert Downs
- Sandy Downs
Idaho Daily Fantasy Sports and Sports Betting
Sports betting and daily fantasy sports aren’t likely to touch down in Idaho any time soon. Within the state, there is more aversion than support for the idea. We have a ways to go and it will be sometime before we see sports betting and fantasy sports make their way in.
Idaho Legal Gambling FAQ’s
What forms of gambling are legal in Idaho?
The following forms of gambling are legal in the state of Idaho:
- Electronic lottery machines including video casino games like slots, poker, blackjack, etc.
- State lottery including scratch-offs, multi-state Powerball, and Mega Millions.
- Track betting including off-track betting