Idaho Casino Guide
Facts About Gambling & Online Casinos in Idaho
At first glance, it may seem like Idaho is open to gambling due to the number of casinos within the state. The truth isn’t quite as it seems, however. While there are casinos in Idaho, state laws ban poker and table games. Bingo, horse betting, lotteries, raffles, and video gaming machines like slots and video poker are the only things you’ll find in Idaho casinos.
Even slots are on shaky ground. Casino owners have them claiming they are video lottery terminals, but old laws made gambling machines of a certain nature illegal. If you want to play casino games in Idaho, you’ll have a better selection of games if you play in online casinos in Idaho.
History of Gambling in Idaho
Over a century ago, Idaho’s leaders made the state’s opinion on gambling known – all forms of “lottery or gift enterprises” were banned. Some establishments kept offering slot machines, but gambling machines that “dispensed coins and/or have a pull lever” were declared illegal in the 1950s and had to be removed and either sent to Nevada or disposed of. Horse betting was, however, legalized in the 1960s, so it gave people a way to make wagers.
Not much changed for people looking for casinos in Idaho until 1988. Voters were finally able to give their input on creating a state lottery, and while the vote was tight, the answer was for the lottery. Once this passed, all eyes turned to the federal approval for tribal casinos. It was decided that tribes could operate a casino that offered any games considered legal by the Idaho government. Casinos with bingos and lotteries opened their doors.
Two tribes discovered that the ban on slot machines defined them as being machines that dispensed coins or had a pull lever. Since slots and video table games do not meet that definition, they were soon popping up in casinos across the state.
Age Restrictions for Gambling in Idaho
If you’re 18 or older, you can purchase lottery tickets, bet on horses, or gamble in Idaho’s casinos.
Idaho’s Casino Gambling Outlook
For now, casinos in Idaho seem limited in terms of growth. In fact, it appeared for a while that things might get even more restrictive. In April 2015, Governor Butch Otter vetoed a bill that would have banned the use of antique horse racing machines.
Despite the restrictions on the types of games that are offered at casinos in Idaho, players have plenty of opportunities to enjoy themselves. The following casinos are all found in the state and feature video gaming machines that range from slots to video poker.
Best Western Plus Kootenai River Inn Casino and Spa
Situated right along the Kootenay River, the location of Best Western’s Kootenai River Inn Casino and Spa is ideal. The on-site casino boasts more than 440 gaming machines on three casino floors. Plus, there is the Kootenai River Brewing and Bonners Ferry Farmers’ market within walking distance. Couer d’Alene and Spokane are good day trips for visitors.
Clearwater River Casino & Resort
Clearwater River Casino is south of Spokane and near the border of the Nez Perce Reservation. On the casino floors are more than 600 gaming machines and a bingo hall.
Coeur d’Alene Casino
Coeur d’Alene Casino sits at the southern end of Lake Coeur d’Alene/Harrison Slough. A day trip to Spokane, Washington, is easily accomplished, but at night the casino floors offer plenty to keep you busy. In addition to off-track betting, there is a bingo hall and multiple casino floors with more than 1,600 casino machines.
Fort Hall Casino
The location off Veterans Memorial Highway/15 makes Fort Hall Casino easy to reach. Pocatello, Idaho, is a short drive away. When you’re in this Idaho casino, gaming options include over 900 machines, including slots, video poker, and more. There are even Blackjack games that groups of five play together with a virtual dealer.