Can You Play Online Poker in Idaho…

When it comes to gambling Idaho is right in the middle, not being as strict as other states, but not as forgiving when it comes to unregulated gambling. Gambling is defined by Idaho law as,


“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, baccarat [baccarat] or keno.

When other states define gambling, they usually define them as games of chance or games of skill, but by the definition above, this no longer applies. By stating the specific name of the gambling game, in this case poker, they are therefore making it illegal to play in all of its forms; not including online though since that is a completely different issue, and our main focus considered is we all want to play poker online for convenience’s sake.

Gambling Allowed in Idaho

Gambling is allowed in Idaho. They have a state-run lottery, as well as permission for pari-mutuel wagering, such as horse and dog racing. Social gambling falls under the blanket of the overall gambling definition, so it is also illegal. The Idaho pretty much states what is legal to play, and everything else is deemed illegal.


Gambling is contrary to public policy and is strictly prohibited except for the following:
a. A state lottery which is authorized by the state if conducted in conformity with enabling legislation; and
b. Pari-mutuel betting if conducted in conformity with enabling legislation; and
c. Bingo and raffle games that are operated by qualified charitable organizations in the pursuit of charitable purposes if conducted in conformity with enabling legislation.

Bingo and raffle games can be played, as long as they adhere to charitable events. There are even licensed organizations that can use these types of games only when it is for charity.

Online Poker Law

There are no laws in Idaho that currently and explicitly state that online poker is illegal. However, they do have a statute that can been seen as encompassing even for online poker and gambling.


No activities permitted by subsection (1) shall employ any form of casino gambling including, but not limited to, blackjack, craps, roulette, poker, bacarrat, keno and slot machines, or employ any electronic or electromechanical imitation or simulation of any form of casino gambling.

By stating that no “electronic imitation” is allowed, online casinos and poker rooms could fall under this umbrella, but it is still quite a grey area, which does not appear to affect many given players residing in Idaho have been safely playing poker online through our recommended poker rooms.

Land Based Casinos and Tribal Stances

There are indeed many different casinos in the state of Idaho, as per the law, they are able to be operated as long as they are regulated and follow the strict law. There are some limited Native American casinos as well, which operate under the same rules. The reason casinos are limited in Idaho is due to the fact that they can only use Class II games, which include video-based gambling devices.

Idaho does have a limited amount of Indian casinos in the state. The Shoshone-Bannock, Nez Perce, and Kootenai Indian tribes are the main tribes to own and operate these casinos. These tribes have been adamant about wanting to expand and change the gambling laws in Idaho. They want to be able to expand their businesses and be able use Class III games in their casinos. Their perspective on expanding could in fact help along the idea of passing an online gambling bill, which would be beneficial for both the state and the Indian communities.

State Regulated Online Poker

Estimated Date of Legalized Online Poker in Idaho: 2019-2020

There have been many states, such as California, Colorado, and Illinois, that have been pushing for a formal online gambling bill. Idaho does not seem to be one of those states. They do not have any plans currently or in the near future of ever regulating online poker sites; as they do not even regulate land based poker games.

Online Lotteries

The Idaho lottery is state-run and was first created in 1989; it actually allocates for 50% of the net funds that go towards public schools, finance colleges and universities. It was in February of 2007 that Idaho started to run online lottery games using the INTRALOT USA system. This has made Idaho into an excellent place for lottery enthusiasts and players.

Online Poker Sites

As the law in Idaho is very strict, and their laws on gambling could encompass the overall act of online gambling, it is safe to say that online poker playing is considered illegal in the state of Idaho. However, there have been no actual cases against the individuals that participate in playing online poker since the law does not specifically define online poker as illegal and we have had online poker available for over a decade now, so odds are pretty slim that anything will ever happen to players in specific.

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