Idaho Gambling Laws 2023. Unveiling the Legal Landscape & Future Possibilities

Idaho, known for its picturesque landscapes and outdoor recreational opportunities, has some of the strictest gambling laws in the United States. In this article, we will explore the biggest Idaho gambling laws and delve into the current legal status of gambling in the state. While online casinos are not legal in Idaho, there is a growing interest among residents in online gambling options. Despite the strict regulations, alternatives such as social casinos and sweepstakes casinos provide a way for Idahoans to enjoy casino games and slots online.

Idaho Gambling Laws

Idaho Gambling Laws – Crucial Aspects

  • 🚫 Online casinos are not legal in Idaho as of 2023.
  • 📱 As of October 17, 2022, Idaho residents can order state lottery tickets via their mobile phone through the Jackpocket Lottery App.
  • 🏇 Online horse betting is legal in Idaho
  • ♠️ Online poker is also not legal in Idaho.
  • 🔞 The legal gambling age in Idaho is 18. This is applicable for lottery, horse betting, and charitable gaming.
  • 🏢 There are seven retail casinos in Idaho. All are owned by federally recognized Native American tribes.
  • 🐎 Live horse racing betting is also available in Idaho, with a few approved race days per year.

Navigating the legal intricacies of gambling in Idaho presents a rather sobering image. Broadly speaking, the state adopts a stringent stance on gambling, making no distinction between retail and online forms. The Idaho Constitution, specifically Section 20, extensively outlines prohibitions against gambling, drawing a broad net over games of chance and fortune. Apart from a few sanctioned forms such as the state lottery, horse racing, and charitable gaming, most gambling forms are deemed illegal, demonstrating the state’s rigorous approach to gambling regulation.

Online Casinos in Idaho

Delving deeper into the realm of online gambling, it becomes apparent that online casinos remain illegal under Idaho law. Despite this restriction, alternative options exist for those seeking to scratch their betting itch. Social casinos and sweepstakes models offer an avenue for Idahoans to engage in virtual gaming while remaining within the legal confines. Renowned platforms, such as Chumba Casino and LuckyLand Slots, stand among the top social casinos accessible to Idaho residents. These platforms employ a sweepstakes model, offering free play or sweepstakes coins, thus bypassing the strict gambling regulations. 

Online Poker and DFS in Idaho

As for online poker and daily fantasy sports (DFS), Idaho maintains its prohibitive stance. In 2016, the state reached an agreement that led to the voluntary exit of DFS providers, rendering this form of online betting absent in Idaho. Similarly, online poker remains outlawed, with the state making no exemptions for such games, even when conducted within private residences. This puts Idaho among the states with the strictest regulations against online poker and DFS.

History of Gambling in Idaho

The history of gambling in Idaho has largely been characterized by stringent prohibitions. Even during the early days of the Idaho territory in the 1860s, lawmakers had put forth measures to restrict gambling. Gambling laws in Idaho were initially drafted with the purpose of combating social issues related to gambling, such as crime and poverty. These laws remained rigid and unwavering for a long period. The most significant changes came with the introduction of the state lottery in 1988 and tribal casinos in the 1990s.

Idaho’s Gambling Regulators

In Idaho, the oversight of gambling activities falls under the responsibility of the Idaho State Police, specifically the Idaho State Lottery. The Idaho Lottery is one of the few legal ways to gamble in the state. It is responsible for conducting and regulating various forms of gambling, including the lottery, raffles, and bingo. While the Idaho State Police currently oversees gambling operations, there have been discussions about the possibility of establishing a gaming commission to handle the future expansion of gambling in Idaho.

Idaho Lottery

Idaho Lottery

The Idaho Lottery plays a crucial role in the regulation and licensing of charitable gaming activities in the state. It is responsible for ensuring the integrity and fairness of lottery games, as well as overseeing licensing procedures for organizations conducting charitable gaming events. The Idaho Lottery offers various games, such as scratch-offs, draw games, and multi-state lotteries like Powerball and Mega Millions. The revenue generated from the Idaho Lottery supports public schools and other state programs.

Idaho Racing Commission

Idaho Racing Commission

Another key regulatory body, the Idaho Racing Commission, supervises horse tracks and online horse betting within the state. They are also responsible for overseeing licensed providers 

The landscape of legal gambling in Idaho further unfolds as we examine the legal gambling age and tribal casinos. In Idaho, these aspects underscore the state’s cultural values and regulatory policies. 

Age Limit for Gambling

Gambling ActivityLegal Gambling Age in Idaho
Lottery18 years old
Charitable Gaming18 years old
Horse Racing18 years old
Casinos21 years old
Certain Poker Rooms21 years old

Tribal Casinos in Idaho

Tribal casinos provide another gambling alternative. These casinos, governed by tribal laws and federal regulations, offer a mix of slots and bingo-type games. Unlike commercial casinos, they are not subject to state jurisdiction, enabling them to offer certain types of games that commercial casinos can’t. The minimum age requirement for entry in tribal casinos is 18, although some may set it at 21.

Risks of Offshore Online Gambling

As the curiosity about offshore gambling heightens, it becomes essential to underline its associated risks and illegality under Idaho law. Issues of data privacy and security prominently feature among these concerns.

Engaging in offshore gambling can attract significant legal repercussions in Idaho. Not only is it illegal, but it also exposes players to potential fraud, as these platforms are not regulated by any U.S. authority. 

Data Security Concerns

Offshore gambling platforms pose substantial risks to personal and financial information. Since they operate outside U.S. jurisdiction, data protection laws don’t apply, leaving players vulnerable to cyber threats and potential financial loss.

Social Casinos Accessible in Idaho

RankSocial CasinoBonusFeatures
1Chumba CasinoSweeps Coins on sign-upWide range of slots and table games
2LuckyLand SlotsBonus sweepstakes coinsExciting themed slots

  • State Lottery
  • Horse Racing Betting
  • Charitable Gaming (Bingo, Raffles)
  • Tribal Casinos

The National Council on Problem Gambling in Idaho

The National Council on Problem Gambling works closely with various state bodies in Idaho to promote awareness about problem gambling and provide resources for those who are affected by it. They offer helplines, self-help tools, and professional treatment referrals to help people navigate the complexities of problem gambling.

Despite the restrictive gambling environment in Idaho, problem gambling remains a concern. The Council’s efforts are crucial in fostering responsible gambling habits among Idaho residents and ensuring that those who need help can get it.

Idaho Gaming Regulations And Statutory Requirements

Navigating the labyrinthine landscape of Idaho’s gaming laws demands a thorough understanding of various regulatory mechanisms and statutory requirements. This in-depth analysis serves as a comprehensive guide, focusing on key aspects such as regulatory oversight, licensing procedures, taxation frameworks, responsible gaming measures, and more.

Regulatory Oversight

Commercial Gaming

Idaho is home to four tribes that have entered into compacts for gaming operations: the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, the Nez Perce Tribe, and the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation. These compacts vest the tribal gaming commissions with the primary responsibility for managing and securing on-site gaming activities.

The Idaho State Lottery plays a more limited role, charged with the responsibility of ensuring compliance with both the tribal-state compacts and the broader regulatory environment. These compacts also allow for the possibility of amendments, especially if a tribe opts to engage an external management entity for casino operations.

Perpetuity and Limitations

These tribal-state compacts are perpetual agreements, remaining in effect unless explicitly renegotiated, replaced, or terminated. While they restrict the number of gaming machines that can be operated, they also allow for expansions through “good faith negotiations” between the state and the tribes.


Tribal Gaming Operators

In accordance with the existing compacts, tribal gaming operations are required to compensate the state for expenses related to background investigations. Additionally, the tribes are obligated to engage in negotiations with local law enforcement to offset costs incurred due to increased policing needs resulting from gaming activities.

Manufacturers and Distributors

Manufacturers and distributors of gaming devices must obtain licensing through the tribal gaming commissions. Each tribe has the authority to determine the licensing fees, and this information is not publicly disclosed in the compacts or gaming ordinances.

Taxation & Tribal Revenue Sharing

The revenue-sharing clauses in the compacts for the Kootenai, Coeur d’Alene, and Nez Perce Tribes stipulate that 5% of annual net gaming income must be allocated to support local educational initiatives. Moreover, the tribes are required to utilize their gaming revenue for several specific purposes:

  1. Funding tribal government operations or programs
  2. Providing for the general welfare of tribe members
  3. Promoting tribal economic development
  4. Contributing to charitable organizations
  5. Assisting local government agencies

Responsible Gaming

Surprisingly, the tribal-state compacts in Idaho do not include specific statutory funding for responsible gaming programs or treatment. Neither do they offer self-exclusion programs for patrons. However, they do place restrictions on advertising methods, mandating that all promotional activities should be conducted in an honest and straightforward manner. Furthermore, the legal age for participating in Class III gaming activities is 18.

Other Regulations

Idaho’s tribal gaming operations are also subject to federal regulations concerning Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and shipping requirements for gaming devices. However, there are no restrictions on political contributions from gaming stakeholders, and Idaho law does not specifically address payment types, including cryptocurrencies.

Sports Betting

As of the current moment, Idaho has not legalized sports betting. Nonetheless, it remains a topic of ongoing debate and discussion among policymakers and stakeholders.

By providing a comprehensive yet precise overview, this article aims to serve as an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the complexities of Idaho’s gaming regulatory environment.


In conclusion, Idaho’s gambling laws remain among the strictest in the United States. While online casinos and poker are not legal within the state, residents can still enjoy casino-style gaming through social casinos and sweepstakes casinos. The Idaho Lottery provides a legal avenue for gambling, supporting public programs through its revenue. Tribal casinos offer additional gambling options, subject to their respective regulations. It is important for individuals to adhere to the legal age requirements and understand the risks associated with offshore online gambling. As the gambling landscape continues to evolve, it remains to be seen whether Idaho will explore expanding its gambling options in the future.



The legal age for participating in lottery games, horse racing, and charitable gaming is 18 years old. However, to enter tribal casinos, the minimum age requirement is either 18 or 21, depending on the specific tribal regulations. For poker rooms, the minimum age is generally 21.

A gambling device in Idaho refers to any machine, equipment, paraphernalia, or object used to gamble. This could include slot machines, roulette wheels, card decks, and even computer servers hosting online gambling.

Yes, unless it falls under the exceptions for tribal casinos or state-authorized forms of gambling such as the lottery or horse racing betting.

The history of gambling in Idaho is defined by stringent restrictions dating back to the 1860s. Major changes have included the introduction of the state lottery in 1988 and tribal casinos in the 1990s.

Idaho lawmakers draft and pass laws related to gambling, while the Attorney General provides legal interpretations of these laws and prosecutes illegal gambling operations.

The Council promotes awareness about problem gambling, provides resources and support to those affected by it, and fosters responsible gambling habits among Idaho residents.

Online gambling is not currently legal in Idaho. However, residents can participate in social casinos and sweepstakes, which are legal alternatives.