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Online Poker in Idaho

Idaho PokerIdaho is one of the few states in the United States that does not have any form of legalized poker games. Idaho does have land based casinos in a few areas in the state, but traditional poker games are not offered. The only option to play poker legally in Idaho seems to be video poker. With that being said, there is no specific mention of online poker anywhere in Idaho laws.

Are Poker Sites Accepting Idaho Players?

Yes! Many people from Idaho have played poker online, and they continue to do so. The federal government has made it harder for players to play poker online by making it illegal for credit card companies to process charges to gambling sites, but many sites are still accepting US players. People in Idaho are welcome to play at any of the poker sites that accept players from the United States.

Is it Legal to Play Online Poker in Idaho?

Idaho does not have any specific laws addressing online poker. The legality of online poker in Idaho is up in the air. Since there are no forms of legal poker in Idaho it is probably considered illegal to play online poker. However, since there is no law strictly preventing online poker it would be an interesting legal case. There have been no charges against players playing online poker in the state of Idaho to date.

We have reviewed some of the statutes of Idaho’s laws pertaining to poker. We have an overview of our findings below:

  • Idaho has a lengthy definition of gambling as you can see below:
  • “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, but does not include:
  • Bona fide contests of skill, speed, strength or endurance in which awards are made only to entrants or the owners of entrants; or
  • Bona fide business transactions which are valid under the law of contracts; or
  • Games that award only additional play; or
  • Merchant promotional contests and drawings conducted incidentally to bona fide nongaming business operations, if prizes are awarded without consideration being charged to participants; or
  • Other acts or transactions now or hereafter expressly authorized by law.
  • Some people have made the argument that poker is a game of skill, but since it is specifically mentioned under gambling the law would have to be amended before it can be deemed a game of skill.
  • It is considered a misdemeanor to participate in gambling that has been deemed illegal.
  • Social poker games are illegal under Idaho law. [1]

We have provided this overview of laws as a reference for you. We are not the authority or the deciding factor on the laws pertaining to online poker in Idaho. If you are concerned about the legality of playing online poker in Idaho then we suggest you contact your local law authorities or state representatives to get a bet understanding of the laws.

Idaho Gambling History

The recorded history of gambling in Idaho dates back to the late 1800s when Idaho became a state. They took a very lenient stance on gambling in those days. Each town was allowed to decide the legality of gambling in their town. Many towns chose to legalize gambling and set up casinos.

Gambling was rampant in Idaho in those days. You could play all of your favorite casino games including slots, roulette, and poker. This all began to change in the 1940s and 1950s. The voters of the state of Idaho first chose to make all table games including poker illegal at the end of the 1940s. Shortly after this law the voters chose to make all gambling illegal in the early 1950s.

Idaho brought back some gambling to their state in 1963 when they legalized wagering on horse races and some sorts of charitable gambling by non-profit organizations. Unfortunately casino nights and poker games were not considered to be legalized gambling by the new laws.

By 1989, Idaho had a state lottery available for their residents. Shortly after the lottery was approved the state allowed Indian Reservations to open casinos that offered bingo. The Tribes were eventually able to add video pull tab machines to their mix of gambling.

Idaho currently has no commercial casinos in the state. The Tribal casinos are very limited to the games which they can offer.

Legalized Gambling Options in Idaho

Idaho has a few legal gambling options for their citizens. The people of Idaho can legally bet on horse races, play bingo, and play Class II video machines in the casinos. Idaho also has a state lottery which provides scratch off tickets. Playing poker in the state of Idaho is not a legal option in any form.

The Future of Online Gambling in Idaho

Given the long history of Idaho being against poker, it is unlikely that they will legalize any form of online poker in the future. The fact that they have some legalized gambling in the state is an advantage of some of the other states in the US. At this point, it is unclear if Idaho will opt-out of federal online poker legislation if it is passed.

References:

[1] Idaho Gaming Statutes

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