Idaho Sports Betting

Idaho sports bettors, welcome to PlayUSA! We are the premier source for the latest news, updates, and bonus information relating to Idaho sportsbooks. The only issue we have with our reporting is that there are not, in fact, any sportsbooks operating in Idaho at this time. But, once there are, we will report on them along with details about the swarms of flying pigs.

All kidding aside, Idaho sports betting has a rather bleak outlook at this time. Despite the fact that neighboring Montana, Oregon, Nevada, and Wyoming all have some form of legal wagering on sporting events now, Idaho does not seem terribly moved to join the party. A quick search of topics in the current legislative session reveals that there are no active gambling bills of any kind under consideration.

Even daily fantasy sports contests, which can act as a sort of lubricant for deeper sports betting expansions, have been illegal and prohibited in Idaho since 2016. The truth of the matter is that Idaho is an extremely restrictive and hostile place for most types of gambling, including sports betting. So, as negative as the outlook is, here are all the details we have about Idaho sports betting.

Is sports betting legal in Idaho?

No, Idaho sports betting is not legal. Gambling is both broadly defined and strictly prohibited in Idaho, and sports betting is explicitly mentioned as illegal in the language of the statute:

“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 [baccarat] or keno.”

Now, by itself, this kind of blanket prohibition is not unusual or unique to Idaho. Many states have similar laws that establish the default position of the state that gambling is illegal. Doing so then allows lawmakers to carve out specific exceptions and exemptions to the law, rather than fighting the battle of exactly defining which games and activities are acceptable. However, the difference in the Gem State is that Idaho really hasn’t made too many exceptions, and sports betting has not been the subject of one of those exceptions to this point.

Does Idaho have legal online sportsbooks?

No. There are no legal online sportsbooks in Idaho.

Of course, a few minutes of Googling seems to offer a different answer – but be cautious. There are tons of offshore online sportsbooks available, and they all welcome players in Idaho. First, let’s dispense with the obvious: It is not legal to bet on sports online in Idaho. Secondly, these online books that you find are based outside of the US and do not need to conform to US law in any way, shape, or form. Anything from their Terms & Conditions to their business standards may not meet the levels that you’re used to finding in the US system, and you could end up in hot water.

Finally, there’s no way to guarantee that your money, identity, and banking information are safe and secure inside their servers. So, don’t believe it when those sites “welcome” you and that they are perfectly legal. They’re not.

When will Idaho regulate sports betting?

It’s very difficult to say. Any new bill proposal could pop up, of course, but both lawmakers and members of the Idaho public have been quite reluctant to sign off on gambling expansions in the past. We would hope that it would be sooner rather than later, but it does not seem to be imminent on Idaho’s sheet of legislative priorities.

Can you play daily fantasy sports contests in Idaho?

No. Idaho is one of a dozen states to ban DFS utterly and with not much wiggle room.

In a 2016 agreement, both DraftKings and FanDuel agreed to leave the state in order to avoid prosecution from the state attorney general. In the state AG’s opinion, DFS qualified as gambling, which was more than DK and FD wanted to hear. Since then, the issue has not been brought up in any kind of meaningful way. So, for the time being, consider DFS off the table.

Who will regulate Idaho sports betting?

It’s hard to say for sure, since Idaho sports betting is not on the table right this second. Based upon the other bits of legal gambling in the state, the best bet to regulate sports betting in Idaho would be the Idaho Lottery.

The Idaho Lottery oversees the most widespread form of gambling in the state, so it would have some experience managing something comprehensive like sports betting. The state lottery commission is also the overseer for Idaho’s charitable gaming, like bingo and raffles.

It would also not be out of the norm: Tennessee sportsbooks are overseen by the state lottery there.

The only other option that makes any sense would be the Idaho Racing Commission. The agency oversees the six race venues in the state and handles the licensing and regulation of online horse betting (advanced deposit wagering) for the Gem State.

It’s always a matter of debate whether horse racing and pari-mutuel betting fall under the headings of sports and sports betting, respectively, but the reality is that the IRC is the only other gaming agency in the state of Idaho. It is much more common for the lottery commission in a state to serve as the de facto gaming commission, as seen in states like West Virginia and New Hampshire. So, if sports betting comes to Idaho and lawmakers want to use an existing agency for oversight, our guess is that the Idaho Lottery Commission would have the inside track.

One other possibility would be a newly-created gaming commission or a similar agency.

How old do I have to be to bet on sports in Idaho?

The gambling age for the few types of gambling in Idaho, including its tribal casinos, is 18. Allowing sports betting for 18-year-olds is not completely outside the realm of possibility. Eligible voters in places like New Hampshire and Washington, DC are permitted to wager on sports legally. However, these places are the exception.

For the most part, sports betting is a privilege reserved for those who are 21 or older. Considering that there is no movement toward sports betting in Idaho at this time, it’s anyone’s guess whether Idaho would stick to a more conventional gambling age.

Where would I be able to make legal sports bets in Idaho?

There are two types of locations that seem most likely to be possible venues for sportsbooks in Idaho. The first set of establishments are the seven tribal gaming facilities.

Idaho is home to seven different casinos that are owned and operated by four federally recognized tribes in Idaho. Each Idaho casino property is located on tribal lands and operates thanks to a compact between each tribe and the state. As it stands, the only types of gambling permitted at these venues are bingo and “video gaming machines.” Although this second type of gambling seems vague, in practice, it means slot machines and virtual table games.

These machines must be formatted specifically to abide by state law, but from a player’s perspective, they are slot machines and virtual table games. So, it would make sense that “casinos” in Idaho would be given the ability to open and host sportsbooks onsite.

The second type of location where you might see Idaho place sportsbooks would be at the six racing facilities around the state. Since pari-mutuel betting already happens at these places, adding another facet of gambling wouldn’t seem to come out of left field.

Now, with that said, these facilities are largely county fairs around Idaho. County fairs tend to be more family-oriented events and activities, and they are not in service year-round most of the time. So, these facilities are quite a bit less likely to host an Idaho sportsbook, but they have to be mentioned as possibilities.

A third possibility would be that Idaho would allow the construction of standalone sportsbooks in the state. Now, so far, there really haven’t been many states that have gone this direction, so it would be fairly unusual if Idaho decided to go this way. At best, it might come with a concurrent law to allow for off-track betting locations, but both of these options are mere conjecture on our part. It’s extremely unlikely that sports betting is on its way to Idaho at all, so the chance of standalones is quite minimal.

Finally, if Idaho wisely decided to legalize online sports betting, either alongside retail betting or on its own, then you would be able to bet on sports anywhere in the state that you could find an internet connection. Your mobile device or computer would be able to connect with one of Idaho’s sports betting apps.

Online sports betting has proven to be the far more profitable option for states, sportsbooks, and gamblers alike, so we would hope that if Idaho decided to go for sports betting, it would allow it to proceed in cyberspace.

Which online sportsbooks will launch in Idaho?

Obviously, we cannot know for sure. In fact, due to the fact that there really isn’t much online gambling in Idaho at all, we don’t even have some of the usual clues that we use, but we’ll take a shot.

Here are our best estimates for what sportsbooks would be on the shortlist to debut in Idaho should online sports betting come to the state.

  • DraftKings: DraftKings is one of only a few companies to have dealt with the system in Idaho before. As we indicated before, the DFS titan offered its fantasy sports services until a 2016 opinion from the state attorney general classified the activity as illegal gambling. Although DK left as part of a deal with the AG, the company has since become one of the top sportsbook providers in the country. In addition, DraftKings is often one of the very first to market in new states. So, we’d have to consider the company in black-and-green as a strong contender to enter with a DraftKings Sportsbook in Idaho.
  • FanDuel: Like DraftKings, its perennial rival, FanDuel was active with DFS in Idaho until 2016. The arc of both companies has been strikingly similar — to the point that the two often move in tandem with one another. In that vein, FanDuel has become an equally powerful sportsbook company in the years subsequent to its departure from the Gem State. FanDuel is usually one of the first to launch, and its combination of speed, navigation ease, and constant promotions make it a shoe-in for an Idaho Fanduel Sportsbook.
  • BetMGM: BetMGM is an easy-to-recognize brand, given how many MGM facilities there are around the country (and world). In fact, BetMGM is a joint venture between MGM Resorts and Entain, another gambling monolith. So, it’s no surprise that a site with so much coverage can enter most states, and there’s no reason to suspect that Idaho wouldn’t be on the list. A BetMGM Idaho Sportsbook would be a good option due to its flexibility on betting options — you can change your bets radically after you make them, in some cases — and its reward program, MLife, which awards you points that you can redeem at MGM locations.
  • William Hill/Caesars: William Hill is one of the top sportsbook brands in the world. The British bookmaker has almost a century of experience and owns hundreds of betting shops internationally. In fact, William Hill owns more sportsbooks in sports betting mecca Las Vegas than any other sportsbook company. So, it would shock no one if there was a William Hill Sportsbook in Idaho. However, the William Hill brand is undergoing a radical change right now due to some corporate mergers. It is now owned by Caesars Entertainment, and reports are indicating that the brand might be dissolving into Caesars itself. So, Idaho may actually get a Caesars book, but it will still be the same company and expertise.
  • TwinSpires: The last company that bears mention as a possibility for Idaho is TwinSpires Sportsbook. TwinSpires does not have the same pedigree as the other four options by any means. In fact, TwinSpires, which is normally the horse betting app for Churchill Downs, only recently expanded into the sports betting realm. So, there are still some bumps on the learning curve that the brand must overcome. TwinSpires is also the only company on this list active in Idaho right now. Idahoans can place wagers on simulcast races around the country with TwinSpires, and an expansion to its sports betting function would likely not be difficult. Again, there are some issues with the TwinSpires product itself, but it’s undeniable that the company would have the inside track to offer sports betting in Idaho.

Of course, there’s one other possibility for launching online sports betting in Idaho. It is possible that the state would prefer to keep things in-house and mandate that the Idaho Lottery is the only organization permitted to offer online sports betting. We have seen this approach in places such as Oregon, Rhode Island, and, to an extent, Washington, DC.

How Idaho online sports betting could work

Regardless of whether sports betting comes to Idaho, we’re pretty confident about how it will work. Obviously, retail sports betting is the same in most places. You go to a sports betting location, choose your bet, and either pay a live cashier or a kiosk in cash. You then wait to see if your prediction comes true.

Online sports betting is both the same and different from this procedure. Typically, the procedure for getting started online is the following steps:

  1. Download and install the app — Use our secure link and take note of any bonus codes we have listed. Our link will take you to the download page for both Apple and Android apps.
  2. Register for an account — After installation is complete, open the app and look for a button that allows you to register or sign up. You will need to enter your personal details in the blanks provided, so be prepared to submit your name, address, phone number, email address, date of birth, and either the last four digits of your Social Security number or the entire number itself.
  3. Deposit into your account — One of two things will happen. Either you’ll be taken immediately to the cashier the moment that you submit your account details, or you’ll be funneled back into the app’s lobby. If that’s the case, you’ll have to look for a button for the cashier or one marked with the word “Deposit.” Usually, sportsbooks offer methods like electronic checks, electronic wallets like PayPal or Skrill, credit or debit cards, online banking or wire transfers, prepaid cards, and even some cash options. Use the method that best fits your financial situation.
  4. Place your bet — It’s time to play! Online sportsbooks offer most sports and most types of betting you can imagine. Whether you want to bet the spread, the moneyline, the over/under, or something else, you can find it. Better yet, online sportsbooks often have what’s called live betting, which gives you a slew of betting options during the course of the game.

Do I have to be in Idaho to bet online?

Yes. No matter whether you’re talking about online or live sports betting in Idaho, you will be required to bet from inside the state. Federal law already prohibits sports wagering across state lines, and every single bit of state legislation to legalize sports betting elsewhere has invariably had language that echoed the federal requirement. So, even though Idaho doesn’t have sports betting yet, it certainly won’t have it across its borders, regardless of when you ask.

Of course, it’s not a problem to enforce this requirement in retail sportsbooks. You have to be in-person to bet, and the tellers don’t accept bets over the phone. However, you may be wondering how the online versions will be able to have the same level of control.

Well, unfortunately, your submission to location services will be a requirement to play. Before you can place a single wager, you will have to prove to the app that you are, in fact, inside Idaho. Sportsbook apps use geolocation software and work with your phone’s own GPS to pinpoint your location. This software is quite accurate, to the point that it forms a virtual fence around the state. Even someone five feet across the line couldn’t get through. It’s much more likely that the technology will err on the side of caution and deny you service if you’re in Idaho but near the border. So, when and if online sports betting comes to Idaho, make plans to have your body inside the Gem State.

Idaho may not have mobile sports betting, but nearby Nevada does

Now, although residents in Idaho can’t place bets online until a bill is passed, they can travel to neighboring Nevada to register an account and place bets there. There are a handful of nearby cities in Nevada with sportsbooks where customers can register for an online account or place in-person bets.

A few but not all include:

  • Carson City
  • Jackpot
  • Reno
  • Elko

Las Vegas is of course a legal gambling and betting hotspot, but it’s a much farther drive than the Northern Nevada cities listed above. Nevada is also home to several sportsbook apps. However, to register for an account and deposit or withdraw funds, you need to visit the land-based partner of the sportsbook app.

Popular sports to bet on in Idaho

Idaho is not home to any pro sports teams. The Boise State Broncos are Idaho’s only Division I FBS football team. The team and the school get a healthy level of respect and fandom in the state. Boise State has been a near-constant participant in college football bowls, so the Broncos carry weight in Idaho. And of course, who hasn’t heard of (or at least seen on TV) “The Blue” — the nickname for Boise State’s Lyle Smith Field at Albertsons Stadium.

Of course, it is not known whether Idaho would allow betting on in-state colleges in order to bet on Boise State. Every state goes a different route. Michigan allows bets on its college teams, but New Jersey and Virginia have banned college bets in some form.

As for pro teams, Idaho’s neighboring states are home to plenty of options that usually garner attention from Idahoans. Those include:

  • Seattle Mariners (MLB)
  • Portland Trail Blazers (NBA)
  • Utah Jazz (NBA)
  • Vegas Golden Knights (NHL)
  • Las Vegas Raiders (NFL)
  • Seattle Seahawks (NFL)

Wrapping up sports betting in Idaho

If you’re still reading this page, you might be thinking that was a lot of information to explain that nothing’s going on with sports betting in Idaho. For the moment, you’re correct. There’s really nothing to report, and we’re not sure when something’s coming.

If Idaho does decide to make a move, you can trust that we’ll be on top of it. Much of the information above won’t change, regardless of when sports betting debuts in Idaho. So, file it away, and keep your ears to the ground. Or, bookmark this page, since we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled, too.

Bart Shirley Avatar
Written by
Bart Shirley

Bart Shirley is a senior evergreen content writer for PlayUSA. He’s been writing and reporting on the gambling industry since 2013. Prior to working for PlayUSA, Shirley was a feature writer for QuadJacks, a site covering issues in poker. He also writes for BonusCodePoker, a poker satire site that lampoons the lighter side of card games. Shirley is a graduate of the MBA program at Texas Christian University’s Neeley School of Business and has a degree in English from Texas A&M University. He grew up in Houston, TX, and lives in Katy, just west of Houston. Shirley is also a former high school teacher. He is married, has one daughter, and practices Brazilian jiu jitsu in his spare time.

View all posts by Bart Shirley
Privacy Policy