Online sports betting has become increasingly popular over time. With dozens of U.S. states legalizing or moving to legalize sports betting, the industry has undergone booming expansion.
However, not all states in the Union pursue the same goals. Idaho sports betting remains a distant dream.
Overall, Idaho is unfriendly toward betting in general. Gambling was banned altogether in 1899, with the state’s first constitution. As of 2020, only three exceptions exist: charitable bingos or raffles, pari-mutuel wagering, and tribal casinos.
Betting in Idaho is, therefore, technically possible but rather difficult. You can head on over to state fairs and racetracks for pari-mutuel horse-race betting. Seven tribal casinos offer slots, table, and card games, but no options for Idaho sports betting fans.
When it comes to Idaho online sports betting, the future is unclear. After the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), many U.S. states sought to legalize sports betting.
With no online pari-mutuel betting or casino gambling, Idaho remains behind the curve. That said, nothing stops legislators from regulating ID sports betting going forward.
Daily Fantasy Sports in Idaho
DFS is the only type of Idaho sports betting app that has ever been actually available. In the 2010s, FanDuel and DraftKings, among other operators, pioneered a huge expansion of monetized fantasy sports leagues the results of which are evident in 2020.
While sports betting was illegal in many states at the time, the companies argued that fantasy sports don’t constitute betting.
Many states concurred, while others dissented. In 2016, Idaho joined the latter. Officials ruled that DFS constitutes Idaho sports betting, as defined in the state constitution. The companies were asked to exclude state residents from their platforms, which they did voluntarily.
Since then, no other Idaho sports betting apps in the DFS sector have attempted to enter the market. DFS betting in Idaho seemed a lost cause until the Supreme Court struck down PASPA. Now, while DFS remains illegal, a bill could easily regulate the industry.
If the state decides to regulate Idaho online sports betting, it’s unclear whether DFS would fall under that legislation. Some states regulate DFS under separate rules. However, with officials finding DFS identical to ID sports betting in 2016, the chances of that seem slim.
Idaho Online Sports Betting: Events and Betting Markets
Just because there are no legal ID sports betting markets yet doesn’t mean that there aren’t any interesting local events. If Idaho betting sites do open up in the future, the state has a few existing events to bet on.
Most Likely Idaho Sportsbooks
As of 2020, there are no Idaho sportsbooks. However, with no federal roadblocks remaining, all it would take is one bill for Idaho sports betting to become a reality. If betting in Idaho is ever legalized, the following are the likeliest potential Idaho sportsbooks.
DraftKings started in 2012 as a daily fantasy sports (DFS) platform. After the repeal of PASPA, though, it quickly grew to become one of the country’s biggest sportsbooks. The company exited the Idaho DFS market in 2016 after the state ruled its operations to constitute gambling.
The company still enjoys considerable name recognition. Should Idaho sportsbooks be legalized, DraftKings is quite likely to try to enter the ID sports betting market.
Founded in 2009, FanDuel was the operator that started the online DFS craze in the U.S. In 2020, the company boasts over six million members and massive brand recognition. Surely, it’s a natural candidate to join the ranks of potential Idaho sportsbooks.
Much like DraftKings, FanDuel exited the ID sports betting market in 2016. It’s likely that FanDuel sportsbook would seek to offer Idaho sports betting once more if given the opportunity.
BetMGM is the online sports betting arm of MGM Resorts International. With decades of experience in the gambling industry, MGM enjoys tremendous brand recognition across the U.S. and the world.
Through BetMGM, the company has aggressively expanded in the online arena since 2018. As of 2020, MGM has a presence in over 15 states. Indeed, it would be a win for the company to add Idaho sportsbooks to the roster.
Last but not least, another possible operator for Idaho sportsbooks would be the Idaho Lottery. The state has had a lottery since 1989. Half the proceeds go toward public schooling, while the rest helps to fund state universities.
Neighbors like Oregon and Montana recently legalized sports betting through their respective state lotteries. Therefore, if Idaho sportsbooks are legalized, they could foreseeably follow a similar model.
Idaho Betting Laws
As mentioned above, Idaho sports betting has been banned since 1889, along with all forms of gambling. After WWII, Idaho saw a spike in illegal gambling, which tied to increased demand from soldiers back home from the war. Slots were briefly legalized in response in 1947. By 1954, the state backtracked, banning slot machines once more.
Idaho sports betting would remain dormant until 1963’s Horse Racing Act. The legislation enabled pari-mutuel betting on horse and dog-racing events across the state. In 1989, Idaho joined a wave of states introducing lottery systems to fund public education.
Three years later, the Idaho Lottery became the administrator of charitable gambling, such as bingo and raffles. That same year, Native American tribes started negotiating with the state, resulting in the first tribal casinos opening in 1993.
Since then, slot-like machines have become commonplace, both within tribal casinos and elsewhere. The Idaho Lottery has even approved instant horse-racing machines in commercial establishments like bars and stores.
Idaho sports betting fans remain out of luck, though. The year the tribes started casino negotiations, PASPA was passed. This effectively prevented the state from even considering legalizing ID sports betting.
In 2016, DFS were spreading like wildfire across the U.S. Officials found that DFS operators like FanDuel and DraftKings were, in fact, offering Idaho online sports betting services. Rather than seek to regulate this market, legislators asked both companies to exclude Idaho residents.
After PASPA was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2018, many states rushed to regulate sports betting. Idaho was a notable exception. In fact, not a single legislator has introduced any bills to regulate Idaho online sports betting since then.
States where you can already place an online sports bet today :
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Future of Idaho Online Sports Betting
As of December 2020, there are no Idaho betting sites or sportsbooks. However, the future might hold surprising developments. No legislation to legalize Idaho sports betting has been introduced so far, but it could happen any day.
For years, the notion of Idaho online sports betting was implausible. PASPA froze sports gambling in its pre-1992 form for nearly two decades. However, the overturning of PASPA opens the doors for all kinds of Idaho sports betting bills.
While there are no plans to legalize sports gambling yet, the pressure is mounting. With more and more states legalizing sportsbooks, Idaho faces considerable competition. Sports betting is already legal in Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.
If the state sees many locals crossing borders to bet elsewhere, legislators may reconsider things due to the loss of potential revenues. That’s particularly true if Idaho sports betting fans are gambling their money in another jurisdiction.
A bill funneling Idaho sports betting revenues toward public education or infrastructure could get some traction. That said, barring new legislation, there isn’t much in the ID sports betting market to look forward to until that happens.
Furthermore, it’s unclear if any potential legislation would actually legalize Idaho betting sites. There’s no way of knowing if legislators and local voters would prefer a retail-based system. In that case, Idaho sports betting apps and Idaho betting sites would still be off the table.
Betting on Pro Sports Teams in Idaho
New legislation could regulate Idaho sportsbooks any day. However, locals looking to wager on professional leagues through Idaho sports betting apps face major hurdles.
Idaho doesn’t have any professional sports teams to bet on as of this writing. Also, as a relatively small state, it’s unlikely that pro teams will move to Idaho soon.
NFL Betting in Idaho
Seattle Seahawks Betting
The Seattle Seahawks are a popular team to back for many NFL fans in western Idaho. The team also gets considerable airtime with local TV stations.
Denver Broncos Betting
The Denver Broncos is one of the oldest franchises in the league and has many fans throughout the state. Colorado doesn’t exactly border Idaho, but it’s reasonably close. The team gets plenty of coverage with the local news.
NBA Betting in Idaho
Utah Jazz Betting
The Utah Jazz are a popular NBA team to back for local basketball fans, especially in southern ID.
Washington Wizards Betting
Many residents in the state back the Washington Wizards in the NBA, particularly in areas near WA.
Portland Trail Blazers Betting
The Portland Trail Blazers are popular with many Idaho fans, particularly those closer to Oregon.
NHL Betting in Idaho
San Jose Sharks Betting
Many Idaho fans back California’s San Jose Sharks in the NHL. California doesn’t border Idaho, but it is right across Nevada.
Colorado Avalanche Betting
NHL fans in Idaho often default to backing the Colorado Avalanche. The Denver-based team has many fans throughout the state, particularly along the CO border.
MLB Betting in Idaho
San Francisco Giants Betting
While Idaho baseball fans back a significantly diverse group of teams, many of them support major teams like the San Francisco Giants.
Other Idaho Teams to Bet On
Beyond professional sports, Idaho sports betting apps would likely focus on college-level leagues. Collegiate sports enjoy considerable support throughout the state.
Betting on College Football in Idaho
College football is fairly popular across the state. It’s guaranteed to be a staple of any potential Idaho betting sites.
Boise State Broncos Betting
The Boise State Broncos are an NCAA Football Division I FBS team, part of the Mountain West Conference. They play out of Albertsons Stadium in Boise. The franchise has the highest all-time winning percentage in collegiate football.
College of Idaho Coyotes Betting
The College of Idaho Coyotes are an NAIA football team, competing in the Frontier Conference. While less popular than the Broncos or Bengals, the Coyotes have plenty of backers across the state.
Idaho State Bengals Betting
The Idaho State Bengals represent Idaho State University in the NCAA Division I FCS league. They’re part of the Big Sky Conference, playing out of Holt Arena, in Pocatello.
Idaho Vandals Betting
The University of Idaho Vandals are an NCAA Division I FCS team, part of the Big Sky Conference. They’re long-time rivals of the Bengals, playing out of Kibbie Dome in Moscow.
Betting on College Basketball in Idaho
College basketball is fairly popular in ID. The state boasts three NCAA Division I teams.
Idaho State Bengals Basketball Betting
The Idaho State Bengals are an NCAA Men’s Basketball Division I team, playing in the Big Sky Conference. The team plays out of Reed Gym, in Pocatello.
University of Idaho Vandals Basketball Betting
The Idaho Vandals represent the University of Idaho in the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball tournament. They play out of Kibbie Dome, in Moscow.
Boise State Broncos Basketball Betting
The Boise Broncos represent Boise State University in the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. Playing out of Extra Mile Arena, in Boise, the team is part of the Mountain West Conference.
Idaho Online Sports Betting FAQ
The following are some of the most frequent questions from players regarding Idaho sports betting apps and sites.
Where can I bet on sports in Idaho?
Nowhere, as of 2020. There are no legal Idaho betting sites or retail sportsbooks. However, you can participate in pari-mutuel horse betting at any of the state’s racetracks, like Sandy Downs or Idaho Falls.
Is sports betting legal in Idaho?
No, it’s not. Idaho sports betting apps and sites are strictly illegal.
When will Idaho legalize sports betting?
It’s impossible to tell. There are no federal roadblocks since PASPA was struck down. However, the state has no sports betting bills on the docket.
Can I bet online on my phone in Idaho?
No. As there are no Idaho betting sites or apps, betting through your phone is currently impossible. The state does have a few tribal casinos, but none of them have mobile apps.
Is gambling legal in Idaho?
Only under very specific circumstances. Charitable raffles and bingo, the state lottery, and tribal casinos are all currently legal. Idaho betting sites are off the table until the law changes, though.
Final Thoughts on Betting in Idaho
Idaho remains the final frontier for U.S. sports betting operators. With a potentially sizable market but no legal recourse, the state remains out of reach for major sportsbooks.
It’s unclear when or if the state will pass legislation that legalizes and regulates Idaho sports betting. Until then, residents will have to settle for pari-mutuel wagering and tribal casino gambling.