Finding a way to relive stress and to have fun can sometimes be tough. For everyone, it looks different. Some like to play video games, nap or do yard work, while others may enjoy doing something like gambling. There are different ways to gamble, such as slots, card games, dice games, Bingo, lotteries, betting, and much more. One of the problems living in Idaho is that there are some strict gambling laws, which many claim to know, but have you ever actually looked into them to see what they are? You might be able to gamble in certain ways and in certain places that you aren't aware of in the Gem State.

What Are the Gambling Laws in Idaho?

Gambling Hand Holding Poker Cards and Money Coins Chips
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When it comes to gambling in Idaho, it isn't as simple as you can or can not do it in the state. Like most laws, it is a little more complicated than that. In the Constitution for the State of Idaho, Section 20 states that:

(1) 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 are operated by qualified charitable organizations in the pursuit of charitable purposes if conducted in conformity with enabling legislation.

This part of the law seems to be pretty cut and dry in terms of stating that gambling is prohibited in Idaho, with these exceptions. The backend of the law is where things are more open to interpretation, and debate. 

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

(3) The legislature shall provide by law penalties for violations of this section.

This makes the law sound like all casino and casino games are prohibited, but as many of us know there is a casino in Blackfoot, Idaho. The law does not mention land, but Native American Reservations commonly do house casinos on the property. To read the full law, you can click on the link above. 

Should Idaho Legalize Gambling?

Credit: Kaysha on Unsplash
Credit: Kaysha on Unsplash

While Idaho mostly bans gambling, there are still ways to have some fun, but should Idaho lessen the law? With Jackpot not far away, many residents of the Magic Valley cross the border and have fun on the weekend playing the slots and the tables. While scratchers and lottery tickets are fun, for some they don't fully scratch the gambling itch. Building a few more casinos around the state and legalizing gambling, would help bring more revenue to the state and help grow the economy across the Gem State. It is disappointing to see the hard-earned money of Idaho residents being distributed to another state when a simple tweak of a law could see Idaho reap the benefits. Look at how fast Idaho Raffle tickets sell and how many people are buying Scratchers and other lottery tickets in the state. There is a need and want for gambling in Idaho, and in 2024 residents should be able to do so without crossing the state line. 

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With the holidays having passed and many having bought scratchers, for those lucky enough to have scratched off some winnings, make sure to head down and have some fun with them across the border, since you can't do it here. Hopefully, Idaho will change its gambling laws soon, but until it does, we must abide by them and do as little as we can to scratch that gambling itch.

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