At the moment, Idaho sports betting is not legal. There are also no plans to legalize sports betting in the Gem State soon. Unlike some other states, there are currently no plans to introduce a bill that would legalize these wagers.
However, it would be wise for legislators in this state to consider it at some point, especially as the states surrounding Idaho have all legalized sports betting. As this is proven to be such a big source of revenue for other states – revenue that can be put to good use for projects within state borders – Idaho lawmakers are actively choosing to lose this money to other states at the moment.
Though there are currently no signs of such a bill being introduced, that does not mean we won’t ever see one. On the contrary, with mounting pressure on all sides, Idaho sports betting could be closer to the horizon than we might think.
Best Idaho Online Sportsbooks
Since online sports betting is not legal in Idaho the only option available is offshore sportsbooks for sports gambling. The following online sportsbook websites and mobile sports betting app providers accept bets from residents of Idaho.
Legal Online Idaho Sports Betting
Since online betting of any sort is not legal in Idaho, there is no legal way to place sports bets here. Until a bill is introduced, we will also have no idea as to the form that legal online Idaho sports betting could take.
Some states have allowed sports betting throughout their state, there are others that do allow sports betting but only in certain locations like the casinos or sportsbooks themselves. Since Idaho does not have any commercial casinos, if they were to only allow mobile betting in certain locations, it would have to be in legal retail sportsbooks.
Should Idaho sports betting be introduced, we can expect that any apps that are launched here will make use of geofencing technologies to ensure that only those within state borders are able to use them. Sports betting is legalized on a state-by-state basis. Even though the states surrounding Idaho have legalized sports betting, they will have very different laws in place – particularly when it comes to taxation. Geofencing is an important tool that helps to divide players to ensure that they can only bet where they are legally able to do so – even if that means they need to cross a state border.
There are several other predictions that we can make regarding the forms Idaho sports betting might take – namely the minimum age of bettors. It is likely that Idahoans who wish to place legal bets will have to be 21 years old or older, as this is the minimum age we see across other states.
How To Pick A Idaho Sports Betting Site
There are no legal Idaho sports betting sites at the moment. If sports betting ever becomes legal in the Gem State, it is vital to consider whether or not the regulatory body will place a cap on the number of licenses. Many other states have only offered up a certain number of licenses to operators.
Any operators who wish to offer betting in these states can sometimes agree to a pact or agreement, with multiple operators applying under one license. Two big names in US betting are FanDuel and DraftKings. They are not just sports betting operators, but also operate daily fantasy sports. Though neither are currently operating in Idaho, they could both be major players who move into the Gem State to set up both sports betting and daily fantasy sports.
Other major brands we could see in Idaho could include William Hill, Caesars Entertainment, and BetMGM amongst others. They are all major players in other states. Should the Gem State decide to legalize sports betting, these are the brands that we can expect to see applying for licenses.
History / Timeline Of Sports Betting in Idaho
Idaho has always been a state that has prohibited sports betting in some way. Though pari-mutuel betting was legalized in the 1960s, other forms of sports betting have never been legalized.
A historic moment came in the history of sports betting across the USA with the introduction of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 1992. This act came at a federal level and prevented states from setting up sports betting – though states who had already set up sports betting would be allowed to continue operations. The only state that had full sports betting operations at that time was Nevada, but three other states were granted exemptions as they had sports lotteries. These states were Delaware, Montana, and Oregon.
This is especially crucial when considering Idaho sports betting since Montana and Oregon both share borders with the Gem State. Though these were only sports lotteries, it meant that those in Idaho who wanted to place some form of sports bet would be able to do so.
In 2018, PASPA was overruled by the Supreme Court – giving control over sports betting back to the states. Though Idaho has not moved to create any form of sports betting bill recently, other states have. Montana and Oregon have introduced sports betting, as have Washington and Wyoming. The state also borders Nevada to the south. This means that five of the six states bordering Idaho have all legalized sports betting in some way. The longer that the state chooses to not introduce these types of games, the more potential revenue they could lose to these other states.
Idaho Sports Teams
Idaho is one of the US States that has no major sports franchises within its borders. The nearest ones are likely to be the teams of Seattle in Washington or Las Vegas in Nevada. However, as with other parts of the USA, you will find a wide variety of sports supporters across the state. No matter the franchise or team that you have in mind, you should be able to find a supporter somewhere.
Idaho does have two baseball teams, the Boise Hawks and the Idaho Falls Chukars. They play in the Pioneer League, an independent baseball league of the Rocky Mountains that is not directly affiliated with the MLB but is instead considered to be a partner league.
The other team of note is the ice hockey team, the Idaho Steelheads. They are part of the ECHL, a mid-level professional league that occupies the tier below the American Hockey League.
There are also three NCAA Division I teams throughout the state – the Boise State Broncos of Boise State University, Idaho Vandals of the University of Idaho, and the Idaho State Bengals of Idaho State University.
Should Idaho choose to legalize sports betting, the question of collegiate sports will inevitably be raised. The lawmakers have three options. The first two are simple enough. They will either outright ban betting collegiate betting or they will freely allow it as long as it is on college events and not high school ones.
The other option is a hybrid approach, and we have seen it come into play in several other states already. Bettors would be able to place bets on college teams from states and on games outside of Idaho. If they wished to place a bet on an Idaho team, they would have to travel to a state that allowed collegiate betting to do so. It will be interesting to see which path the lawmakers of Idaho choose to take.
Retail Sports Betting in Idaho
Since there is no legal Idaho sports betting, there are no sportsbooks or retail locations where someone might be able to place a bet. To be able to do so, a bettor would have to cross state borders into one of the five states that have legalized sports betting. For example, retail sports betting is legal in Nevada, so a trip down to Las Vegas might also involve a stopover at one of the many retail sportsbooks here.
We might see lawmakers legalize sportsbooks in Idaho, but it would not be unprecedented to see them choose to make Idaho sportsbooks entirely mobile only. Both models – mobile-only and a mix of retail and mobile – have been proven to work in other states, so it would ultimately be down to what legislators would wish to see.
Idaho is home to seven tribal casinos, operated by four of its Native American tribes. These casinos carry licenses that allow them to offer games such as table games and slots. Should sports betting be made legal in Idaho, there is a strong chance that these tribes might renegotiate their compacts to allow them to also offer sports betting. In other states where we have both tribes and legal sports betting, many such establishments have been able to launch their own sportsbooks.
The Coeur D’Alene Casino is owned by the tribe of the same name and the Kootenai tribe owns the Kootenai River Inn Casino & Spa. The Shoshone-Bannock tribes own the Bannock Peak Casino, Shoshone-Bannock Casino Hotel, and Sage Hill Travel Center & Casino. Finally, the Nez Perce tribe operates the Clearwater River Casino & Hotel and the It’se-Ye-Ye Casino.
These are the perfect locations for retail sportsbooks to flourish once Idaho sports betting is legal, especially those casinos that also have hotels and other entertainment complexes attached to them. There is a strong chance that they will be amongst the first to apply for licenses if they are available.
Daily Fantasy Sports
Idaho is one of the few states throughout the USA where one cannot engage in daily fantasy sport activities in any way. Popular providers DraftKings and FanDuel did use to offer games here but chose to pull out of the state in 2016 following a discussion with Attorney General Lawrence Wasden. He released a press release announcing that he considered daily fantasy sports contests to be illegal and in conflict with Idaho’s anti-gambling laws. As a result, FanDuel and DraftKings agreed to stop operations with the Gem State.
Should online gambling as a whole be made legal in Idaho, it is likely that there will be some clause in the bill regarding daily fantasy sports. These are an extremely popular form of gaming, and so to ignore them would be foolish.
What’s more, FanDuel and DraftKings also have popular sportsbooks. In other states, they have helped to lobby lawmakers or have provided advice to help shape the bills as they have moved into law. This has also helped them to then acquire licenses to offer both games within the state. This is a role that we could see them take on should a conversation strike up regarding Idaho sports betting.
Offshore Sports Betting
With no options available for legal sports betting within Idaho, many bettors might be tempted to look to offshore sites as a choice instead. Anyone who chooses to do so must be very careful when looking for online casinos and sports wagering options. There are many sites that appear to have good offers or interesting odds. However, they are not licensed by any regulatory bodies. These sites are operating illegally and should therefore be avoided at all costs. Playing with them could result in you losing funds or even having personal or financial data compromised.
If you do wish to play with an offshore site, choose one that is properly regulated. Any site that carries certification from a governing body from somewhere like Curaçao or Costa Rica. These sites are held to a set of standards and can be considered to be more trustworthy than others. If you choose to place bets at an offshore sportsbook, always make sure that it is properly regulated.
However, Idahoans do have plenty of options. It is important to remember that five of the six states bordering the Gem State have legal sports betting. It might be a matter of driving just a few hours to cross state borders and head somewhere that offers legal sports betting.
Sports betting is also definitely not off the cards in Idaho. Crossing state borders might be the right option for now, but there is every chance that we could see the introduction of Idaho sports betting, freeing up the market for all.
Idaho Horse Racing & Off-Track Betting
Though sports betting, in general, is not legal across Idaho, pari-mutuel wagering is. There are several off-track betting locations across the state, with this type of betting has been legal since the 1960s.
The number of horse tracks has dropped substantially across the state. One of the biggest and best for a long time was Les Bois Park, which initially opened its doors as the Boise Fairgrounds in 1970. Despite closing down and reopening several times over the past decade, it appears that the Park shut its doors for good in 2018.
There are several other places where you can enjoy off-track racing and betting in Idaho. In Boise, you can head to Capitol Racing Idaho. Post Falls is home to Coeur d’Alene Greyhound Park. Finally, in Rigby, you will find Sandy Downs Racing, Inc. Each of these locations has simulcasts and broadcasts from races across the US.
Final Thoughts / Summary
Idaho sports betting might not be legal just yet, and we might not be able to see any potential bills on the horizon. However, that does not mean that we won’t see any form of betting come to Idaho. It might seem like nothing is happening, but the setup around the state suggests that pressure might be laid at particular points.
A great example can be found in the state’s four tribes that own casinos. If they wish to adapt and evolve, renegotiating their compacts to make room for sports betting would be the ideal way to do so. With pressure from external sources like DraftKings and FanDuel – potentially to reintroduce daily fantasy sports – could be a massive factor here too. All of these could work together to act as a lobby to convince lawmakers to look into the benefits of Idaho sports betting.
The physical position of Idaho also cannot be overlooked too. Currently, the state sits as a small pocket surrounded by others with freely and legally available sports betting. Many Idahoans will be looking to cross a state border when they wish to place a sports bet. That is all revenue that could benefit schemes and projects within the Gem State. Other states that have legalized sports betting usually hand regulation over to their lottery associations, so the projects that the lottery funds can also benefit from sports betting revenue. This could be something that we see arising in Idaho too.
The longer lawmakers hold out on not legalizing sports betting in some way, the more revenue they could lose to their neighboring states. There might not be any bills that look to introduce sports betting at the moment, but this does not mean that no conversations are happening behind the scenes. It would be fantastic to see sports betting launch in Idaho sometime in the later years of this decade. As sports betting continues to grow across other parts of the USA, we can imagine lawmakers in the Gem State might begin to look at benefits more closely.