Sports Betting is legal in Idaho; however, it is certainly not recommended for sports fanatics. Unfortunately for sports enthusiasts in Idaho, gambling seems to be on the way out of the state. Unfortunately, because the Wolfback State in Idaho has grown increasingly opposed to sports betting there have been a number of high profile cases over the past couple of years. One case in Idaho involved the injuring of a bettor by an employee of the World Series of Poker. This event resulted in the closing down of the WPTB in Idaho.
As if Idaho wasn’t already popular enough with sports fanatics, in June of 2021, it was named one of the five legalized sports betting states in the country. Not long after the news became public, there was a huge push in the state capitol to legalize sports betting. Unfortunately, in the face of massive public support and opposition, Governor Mike Canship proposed a bill to eliminate the sports betting laws and make Idaho even more difficult for sports betting enthusiasts. His bill would have made it illegal for sports book owners to operate within the state.
The Idaho State House recently passed a resolution in support of keeping the legal gambling age at 18 years old. However, according to the sports betting measure, if any changes are made to the legal age limit then the new law will be invalidated. This resolution passed by voice vote without debate. Although the measure may seem controversial, the House majority did it for the purpose of placating the Idaho State Attorney General. The attorney general released a statement saying that he will continue to review the House resolution “in light of the recently expressed concerns regarding the statutory minimum gambling age.”
The proposed legislation would have made it illegal for individuals to place bets on any type of gambling, sporting event, race or game within the state of Idaho. It would also have included all games of skill and sport in Idaho. The House also voted to exclude pari-mutuel betting from the definition of gambling. The definition already includes sports wagering, lottery games, horse racing, card tournaments and online gaming. This is the same definition used in many states as a way to differentiate between the grey areas of gambling and legal gambling.
The Idaho State Attorney General believes that there is room for gambling options in Idaho. In a statement released on behalf of the Idaho State Attorney General, John Nielsen said that the new legislation will ensure that the “overall protection” for Idahoans “is preserved”. He went on to say, “Idahoans are able to enjoy the benefits of sporting events without worrying about unlawful gambling and fraudulent activity being conducted on their wagers.” He went on to say that sports betting has been used as a means for raising money for charity throughout the state. According to him, the definition of gambling in Idaho should include “gambling activities including horse racing, bridge and poker.”
The problem lies with how Idaho State Attorney General John Nielsen seems to view sports betting. For decades gambling in Idaho has been illegal, however, it wasn’t until recent years that online gambling was legalized in Idaho. Now the sports books in Idaho are regulated by the Idaho State Athletic Association. This association has set a number of criteria which sportsbooks must meet in order to remain in business. These criteria include offering sports betting and other online gambling services to customers and having a quality assurance program in place. The standards which this association sets for its licensed sportsbooks has caused many bookmakers to raise their betting limits which have led to an increase in games being played which are longer than normal and which include more underdogs and more payout.
One of the reasons that the Idaho State Legislature has taken action to pass the amateur sports protection act is that they realized that something had to change in order to stop the problem from continuing. The problem seemed to be that the previous attempts at stopping online gambling had been met with heavy resistance from a number of representatives in the legislature. Among those who voted against the bill were both Senator James Ragan and Representatives Lynn Mills and Mike Morris. The anti-gambling sentiment in Idaho runs deep and although the anti-gambling crowd may not enjoy the new law they certainly understand where it’s coming from. Many politicians realize that they’ll have to make some tough decisions on which laws will be passed or which will be shut down in order to balance the budget and the state’s budget.
For now at least we can take solace in the fact that the drunken idiots who thought they could get away with gambling without any consequences will have to think again. Unfortunately, we’ll probably have to wait for some sort of major economic disaster before they can go back to their “slots” or whatever gambling contraption they’re using to gamble their way to riches. Until then we can only hope that the various states with strong sports betting laws stay on top of things and don’t fall victim to the same scam that the Amish used to pull for years in Idaho.