Gambling Guide & Online Casinos for Idaho Players
Are you a gambling enthusiast living in or visiting Idaho? Do you want to know which forms of gambling are legal and which ones are not? If so, we would like to explore all of your gambling options, including the best Idaho online gambling sites and land-based venues. We will start by offering a list of our most highly regarded Idaho online casinos. Our experts have thoroughly examined these sites and we can assure you that they are fair, fun, and legal. They also have a full spectrum of games such as slots, roulette, blackjack, and much more.
Gambling in Idaho
If you happen to enjoy gambling and you are at least 21, then Idaho probably isn’t the ideal location for you. In fact, Idaho has some of the strictest anti-gambling laws in the country. It’s not like it was back in the mid-1800s when Idaho hadn’t officially achieved statehood. It was pretty much a free-for-all back then in terms of gambling. Then, in 1889, that changed with the ratification of the state’s constitution, which stated that any betting or gift enterprise was not allowed under any circumstances.
As you would expect, this didn’t deter a lot of die-hards. Because many residents viewed the legislation as vague, the rules became more specific and gambling was further defined to include any card game, dice game, or any other game that was played for money, checks, credit, or anything else of value. Slot machines were added to the list of banned games in 1916.
While authorities were known to raid illegal gambling dens in sporadic crackdowns, many in enforcement largely ignored it. Surprisingly, Idaho legalized slot machines in 1947. However, in 1953, a federal judge deemed the 1947 legalization of slot machines unconstitutional and the one-armed bandit was once again illegal.
Idaho gambling laws were relaxed a bit in 1963 when pari-mutuel betting on horse races was legalized. Things progressed even further in 1988 when lawmakers approved a state lottery. This small step wasn’t easy as there was plenty of opposition. When the lottery went to a public vote, it barely succeeded. Nevertheless, it may have opened the door just enough to usher in the next advancement, which was the federal government’s legalization of Native American casinos.
The thing about these early tribal casinos was that they were only allowed to offer gambling games that were authorized by the state. In other words, they could only offer lottery games and bingo. Idaho tribes were finally allowed to offer slots at their casinos after a constitutional amendment redefined what a slot machine was. As long as the game didn’t have a lever or dispense coins, they would be allowed in casinos. As such, Idaho slots had a spin button instead of a lever and they dispensed cashout tickets instead of money.
Very little has changed in the ensuing years. Idaho casinos offer lottery games, bingo, and armless slots that only dispense tickets that winners need to redeem at the cashier. And while they don’t offer table games like blackjack, roulette, or baccarat, they are permitted to offer single-player electronic versions of table games.
As you can imagine, the prospect of legalizing Idaho online casinos is rather dim. The state has always held an anti-gambling stance and it is highly unlikely that you’ll find a legal and regulated online casino in Idaho any time soon. The same can be said of sports betting and poker which both remain illegal in Idaho. Those who want to play casino table games can enjoy a full range of them at the best social online casinos in Idaho.
It’s hard to imagine a casino that doesn’t have any blackjack, roulette, or craps tables. Yet, that is the situation in Idaho. But while none of Idaho’s casinos offer table games in the traditional sense, they do offer loads of electronic table gaming terminals. The tribes are primarily responsible for overseeing operations and the games, although the Idaho State Lottery has limited authority to monitor and inspect the casinos and their games.
Real money online table games like online blackjack, baccarat, and Caribbean Stud are also prohibited in Idaho. If you want to play these games, you’ll need to play them at social Idaho online gambling sites. Because social games do not require money, they aren’t considered as gambling and are therefore, perfectly legal. With that said, not all social online casinos accept players from Idaho. We urge Idahoans to check the terms of service at any social site they are considering playing at to make sure they are eligible.
It’s no secret that slot machines generate the largest crowds at casinos online and on land. This has a lot to do with them being so easy to play and the fact that they offer such large potential payouts. Because Idaho slot machines have no levers and they dispense redeemable tickets instead of coins, they once seemed strange. However, this model is now standard at land-based casinos all over the world. Some would argue that this slot design is better.
The only places that offer legal slots for real money are the tribal casinos. Regulation and oversight of these venues and their slot machines is shared by Idaho's four compacted tribes and the Idaho State Lottery. Idaho slot machines are certified and regularly tested by accredited agencies to ensure ongoing fairness and incorruptibility.
As you may have guessed, playing real money online slots is illegal. Those who want to immerse themselves in their favorite online slot games can play them at our recommended social Idaho online casinos. These games are legal because they don’t involve the use of real money.
No matter where you decide to play slots, you will appreciate having an abundance of themes to choose from, including mythology, fruits, horror, and entertainment. These games also boast loads of modern features such as Avalanche Reels, free spins, and bonus games. Mechanics like Cluster Pays, Megaways, and Slingo only add to the excitement and ensure you will never get bored.
Lottery and Bingo
You won’t be able to find a real money online casino in Idaho, but there is one form of gambling that can legally be done online. You can go to the Idaho Lottery website or download the licensed Idaho Lottery app to play a variety of lottery games. Draw games like Powerball, Mega Millions, and Lucky for Life give lotto fans a shot at winning some of the largest jackpots on the planet. You can also play scratch games, online pull tabs, and InstaPlay games like Cash Spot, Zombie Hunter, and Fire & Dice. Idaho Lottery even has a VIP Club through which you can take advantage of a variety of exclusive promotions.
Idahoans can also purchase bingo tickets at the Idaho Lottery website. That’s right! Bingo is also legal in Idaho and it is overseen by Idaho Lottery. In addition to playing at the Idaho Lottery website, the state is home to several bingo halls. If that’s not enough, some of our recommended social Idaho online gambling sites serve up all the bingo action you can handle, including 90-ball bingo, 75-ball bingo, and 30-ball bingo.
Poker was popular in 1800’s Idaho and it is even more popular today. The only problem that Idaho poker fans face is that poker is illegal both online and on land. Even small-time home games are prohibited. Incredibly, police in Twin Falls raided an old-age pensioner’s low-stakes home game back in 2010. This was an exceedingly rare occurrence, but it goes to show just how strict the authorities can be. Idahoans who want to play real money poker legally have to travel to a neighboring state like Washington or Montana, where poker is legal.
Idahoan poker players have a couple of legal alternatives. They can play real money video poker games at the state’s licensed casinos or play electronic versions of popular casino poker variants like Three Card Poker, Caribbean Stud, and Pai Gow. These poker games and many others are also offered at our favorite social Idaho online gambling sites, although those games don’t involve real money.
Even though Idaho tribes are legally permitted to operate casinos, there are not too many casinos in the state. In fact, there are only seven of them as of 2023.
Bannock Peak Casino
Owned and operated by the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe, Bannock Peak Casino is located in Pocatello. It offers just 5,000 square feet of gaming floor, which houses about 75 electronic gaming machines along with a bingo hall. You can play games, eat at four dining facilities, and take in an evening of entertainment.
Clearwater River Casino & Lodge
This casino is owned by the Nez Perce Tribe and it’s located in Lewiston on the Clearwater River. The casino boasts over 600 electronic gaming machines, dining, a saltwater pool, and a 50-room hotel. You can also attend concerts and indoor sporting events at the 12,775-square-foot Event Center.
Coeur D’Alene Casino Resort Hotel
Coeur D’Alene Casino Resort Hotel features 60,000 square feet of gaming space where visitors can choose from over 1,200 gaming machines. It also has a massive 40,000-square-foot bingo hall and an event center that hosts a variety of events including MMA, comedians, and musical acts.
This is a smaller facility that offers over 100 video gaming machines on a 6,000-square-foot gaming floor. It’s located in Kamiah and is open 7 days a week. Amenities include lodging, retail shopping, and several dining options. Visitors can check out some fine entertainment at the event center before hitting the lounge for a nightcap.
Sage Hill Casino
Sage Hill opened in 2009, making it the most recent casino to open in Idaho. It’s located about three miles south of Blackfoot and it features over 100 gaming machines, dining, and other amenities. Visitors will love the hourly and daily Hot Drop Jackpots as well as the regular promotions.
Shoshone-Bannock Casino Hotel
Located in Fort Hall, the Shoshone-Bannock Casino has a 15,000-square-foot gaming floor and over 800 gaming machines. There is plenty of dining, a lounge, entertainment, and a bingo hall as well as a 150-plus-room hotel. The facility’s event center is the go-to venue to see comedians, musical acts, and indoor sports events.