Idaho Legal Poker Sites

Idaho StateIdaho is not a poker-friendly State, with just about any form of poker you can think of explicitly illegal. There are no live casino poker rooms at all in this State, and even home games are not allowed. Recently, a seniors game for pennies got raided by the police, which led to a huge public outcry. While the public prosecutor may have softened the stance on enforcement activity – this support for social poker games did not cause any legal changes to be put forward.

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This page gives you all you need to know about different kinds of poker games in the State of Idaho. First of all, live casino poker games are discussed, including options for finding these in nearby States. Next up, the world of social poker in ID is covered, this includes the legality of home games, bar leagues and charity poker events. After that  you will find a look at online poker, which is also not permitted in this State. Finally the wording from the Idaho Statutes which covers poker can be found, along with a summary and optimistic look at potential future scenarios.

Live Poker Games In Idaho

The only casinos in Idaho are on tribal land and do not offer either table games or poker rooms. Some of these do have quasi-poker games which are run by machines with a live dealer to host them. These are games of chance against the house dressed up to be multi-player poker games – and not the real thing at all.

Residents really need to travel to a nearby gambling-friendly State to find serious poker action. To the west, Washington and Oregon offer a wide choice of poker rooms at both State licensed and Tribal casinos. The town of Wendover on the Nevada / Utah border caters to a lot of traffic from the Salt Lake City area, though the big casinos there are accessible from the South of Idaho.  There are no debates about licensing casinos in this State, meaning travel is the only realistic option.

Are Home Games Legal In Idaho?

Home games, even tiny stakes social games where nobody is taking a profit from running the game, are considered illegal in Idaho. After the public outcry concerning the busted Seniors penny game, the enforcement may have softened a little. Based on the history of busts in Idaho, I would not take this as an excuse to start publicizing a home game or inviting anyone you do not already know and trust to the game.

Bar leagues and charity poker nights do not seem to occur in Idaho – meaning there are effectively zero live poker options available under the current laws.

Online Poker Games In Idaho

Internet poker is widely believed to be illegal under the general gambling Statutes in Idaho. There is no news available to suggest that any individual player has ever been prosecuted for enjoying a game of online poker – though with the bust-happy enforcement agencies in this State I would not like to be the one to find out how serious they are on this subject.

Many offshore poker sites willingly accept players from Idaho to their real money online poker games. These brands are based in countries where gambling online is completely legal, and claim they are free to accept American players under international freedom of trade laws. There are some banking restrictions concerning deposits and withdrawals at these sites. These do not stop tens of thousands of Americans enjoying real money online poker every week at these sites.

I would rate the chances of Idaho regulating online poker within their State as effectively zero for the next few years. Even with an established regulated poker environment elsewhere, it is difficult to see circumstances in which the ID government would make this legal.

What Do The Idaho Gambling Statutes Say?

Poker gets a specific mention as an illegal gambling game in the Idaho Statutes, alongside the more open definition of games of chance with some element of skill. Like in most places, the approach is to outlaw as many forms of gambling as possible in one go – then carve out any individual games which are legal. The major difference when it comes to Idaho is that they have not actually carved out any exceptions!

Here is the main definition of Gambling under ID State laws, this comes from chapter 38-18-3801:

…”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 or keno…

Idaho Poker – Summing It Up

Along with Georgia, Hawaii and Utah, Idaho is one of the least poker-friendly States to live in. With just about every form of the game outlawed, including social games, the best solutions are to either travel to neighboring States or to play online at offshore poker sites.

There is very little indication that anything will change soon in Idaho.