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Sports betting simplified
Although Idaho remains a smaller state, population-wise, it is growing steadily. In fact, to millions of Americans, the secret is out about the Potato State. Idaho is a beautiful state with a growing major city, Boise. And it has become a haven for the productive class of states such as California, which assaults success and achievement with high taxes and suffocating regulation. But Idaho lacks major league sports, and the Boise State Broncos college football program is a non-power five-member. Still, Idaho is seen as a state with a tremendous upside and future for eventual legalized sports gambling.
State of Idaho Sports Betting Overview
Sports betting in Idaho is illegal, and no efforts are underway to change that. Idaho is one of just a few states in the Union that have expressed little-to-no interest in even exploring the possibility of legalization.
Idaho lawmakers have not introduced a single bill to legalize sports betting of any type in the years since the Supreme Court struck down PASPA.
Shortly after the decision, Idaho Assistant Chief Deputy Attorney General Brian Kane said the odds of legalized Idaho sports betting were long.
However, as neighboring states legalize or consider legalizing sports betting, Idaho lawmakers may be convinced to change their tune as gambling dollars flow across state lines. If that does happen, lawmakers will have to overcome the challenge of amending the state constitution and receiving the approval of a majority of voters before legal sports betting in Idaho can become a reality.
Daily fantasy sports sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel were permitted to operate in Idaho before 2016 despite a lack of legal clarity. That changed in 2016 when the Attorney General issued a press release announcing it is the opinion of the Office of the Attorney General that daily fantasy sports contests constitute illegal gambling under Idaho law.
The press release also announced that the Office of the Attorney General had reached an agreement with FanDuel and DraftKings that would see both DFS companies cease all operations in Idaho. In return, the Attorney General chose not to pursue charges against either company for violating state law.
This was bad news for Idaho sports fans. Still, the upside is that the AG’s press release noted that the agreement included a legal path to resume real money fantasy sports contests in Idaho if the state legislature ever changes the law to legalize daily fantasy sports.
In the years since the AG’s notice, no serious efforts have been made to legalize Idaho’s daily fantasy sports sites and apps.
Some online sportsbook operators say they can accept bets from anywhere in the US, including Idaho. However, these offshore sportsbooks are not licensed to take bets from any US jurisdiction.
That means if someone bets with these websites, they will have no consumer protections. If the website shuts down, there will be no legal recourse to force an offshore sportsbook to pay out a winning bet or return customer funds.
State of Idaho Sports Betting Timeline
In May 2016, Daily fantasy sports were outlawed in the state after the attorney general reached an agreement with DFS providers.
In November 1992, Idaho’s policy on casino gambling was on the ballot as a constitutional amendment. It is approved with 57.9% of the vote, keeping gambling illegal in the state.
In 1989, Idaho established a state lottery.
Right now there are currently no legal sports betting options in the state of Idaho.
Idaho has several options to launch sports betting if it ever legalizes it. Sports betting could be run through the state’s lottery, though those monopoly operations often limit potential tax dollars.
The state could also opt for an online-only format, similar to Tennessee, to begin offering online sports betting promotions.
Finally, Idaho does have seven tribal casinos and gaming locations that could offer retail sports betting.
However, some websites suggest they can accept bets from anywhere in the United States, including Idaho. These are offshore sportsbook operators that are not licensed anywhere in the US.
Since these offshore operators run their business legally without a license in the US, there is no consumer protection for anyone who bets with them. If the sportsbook chooses not to pay a winning bet or close its operation without refunding customer accounts, there is no legal recourse to recover those funds.