Idaho Online Gambling & Poker Laws

Idaho Poker Laws

Is Online Poker / Gambling Legal in Idaho?

The Gem State has fairly conservative laws in general, tends to be one of the more conservative states in the USA, and has some strict gambling laws on the books. While some gambling is allowed, for the most part, games of chance and skill are outlawed unless they occur in a tribal casino or are approved by the government. The easiest access to gambling comes through charity events in the state, though generally speaking, playing poker of any sort is considered illegal in Idaho by state law.

Are Home Poker Games Legal in Idaho?

In other states in America, you can host home games under certain conditions, such as not charging entry fees or allowing minors into the game. Unfortunately for social card gamers in Idaho, the state does not allow for any sort of home gaming, and the laws do not provide exemptions for social gaming. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a poker game for profit or not in Idaho—your game is probably against the law.

In the past, poker players arrested under Idaho’s strict gambling laws have tried to argue that poker is a skill game, and that Idaho’s laws only prohibit games of chance, but a section of state law declares that defense specifically invalid. If you flip through the state penal code, you’ll find that poker is specifically mentioned as an illegal game, therefore it doesn’t matter if you can prove that you’re playing a skill based game or not. You can be charged with a misdemeanor or even a felony for playing even a home game of poker in the state of Idaho.

Idaho Casinos, Card Rooms, & Poker

Strangely enough, even though the state restricts most forms of gambling, you can find casinos within the state lines of Idaho. Unfortunately for poker players, these casinos do not offer traditional poker games. As of this writing, there are six of these casinos in Idaho operated by Native American tribes. But you won’t find any poker games or card rooms at these locations.

To operate legally in Idaho, a casino must be willing to follow state restrictions on what sorts of games they provide. Yes, you can play slots and video poker, among other casino games, and bingo is popular all over the state. All existing casinos in Idaho host off-track horse betting and other types of wagering. But providing a poker game in Idaho is not legal, and you won’t find a legal game anywhere in the state.

Learn About Other State Laws

Can I Legally Play Poker Online in Idaho?

As with any state in the USA, the answer to this question isn’t clear. To say that Idaho’s poker laws are antiquated is an understatement; the state’s gambling law makes no mention of the Internet or even telephones. Because no one has ever been arrested or charged with any crime for online gaming in Idaho, it appears that online card games are safe to play, if not explicitly legal. Contact a legal professional familiar with Idaho state law if you have questions about Idaho online poker play.

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