Idaho is one of the youngest states, the 43rd to be exact, to be admitted to the union. Idaho became a part of the United States in 1890. The Gem State is home to around 1,300,000 people, and became a gambling-friendly state late in the game as well, far behind most of the country.
Gambling History and Scenario
After being admitted to the Union in 1890, Idaho constitution declared the lottery and gambling in general as illegal. The lack of clarity in the legal language used in the constitution lead to the popularity of slot machines in the 1930s though.
This situation went on for a few years, and in 1947 they were even legalized, when a law exempting them from the lottery ban is approved. Just 6 years later, in 1953, the slots are considered illegal by the state Supreme Court, determining the end of this type of gambling.
After the popularity of slots in the 1930s and 1940s, when slots games were deemed illegal all the gaming machines were turned into collectors’ items from then on. Not all were bad news, as in 1957 the Horse Racing Act was approved, but the veto from the Governor made necessary a second Act in 1963.
This Act was finally approved and the Idaho State Racing Commission was created as responsible for the pari-mutuel horse racing. From this date on horseracing has been permanently active in Idaho, and currently, there are available eight racetracks to the state citizens.
It was necessary to wait over 20 years to get the next good news, the approval of the lottery in 1988, which was up and running in 1989. The state currently offers in-state and multi-state lotteries, including Powerball, Mega Millions or Bingo, under the format of tickets or scratch cards (or pull tabs as called here). Gas stations, convenience stores, and many other locations sell the lottery throughout the state.
The lottery awards 50% of the value of their tickets sales to the public school system, and the other 50% goes to university and college infrastructure funds. Until today, over $800 million have been returned to the state of Idaho since 1989.
Also in 1988 the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act is approved, enabling the tribes to negotiate deals with the state to open casinos on their lands. In 1992 the negotiations lead to the approval of the lottery, pari-mutuel racing, bingo, and raffles, but excluded slots, roulette or blackjack, regardless of the tribes’ appeals.
The first casino, the Coeur d’Alene Casino and Hotel, was open in 1993, and even if it offered just bingo, it becomes quite popular, opening the way for other casinos throughout Idaho. The situation changed in 2002 due to the demand for conventional casino gambling, and that was when the tribal casinos were allowed to offer video game machines. Today, thousands of video gaming machines similar to slots are available.
In 2011 horse racing betting was expanded too, making possible to bet outside the racetrack, making simulcasting legal.
Summing up Gambling Found in Idaho
Seven Native American Casinos are the only types of casinos that are found here. You have 24-hour gaming eligibility here too, and the casinos are also open 7 days a week. Some of the casinos available in the Gem State are Clearwater River, Fort Hall Casino, Kootenai River Inn, and Coeur D’ Alene.
Players are able to visit these casinos at just age 18, being 18 also the legal age for any other type of gambling in the state. Often times you will see players from Salt Lake City who come to visit this state just for their gambling needs.
Pari-Mutuel betting is another part of Idaho where you have a dog, horse and quarter horse racing on eight different tracks which players can make bets. Idaho has a state lottery which is relatively new, it began in 1989. $2.1 billion is contributed to the state over a period of 11 years offering all of the best games like Powerball, Mega Millions, Hot Lotto Sizzler and so many others.
Even if Idaho is not the most gaming-friendly state in the country there is a relatively wide offer were the residents can play. For now, the lottery, dog and horse racing and tribal casinos are legal, but there are hopes that online gambling, poker, and commercial casinos can become legal soon.