Is Sports Betting Legal in Idaho?
In some respects, it seems like a state like Idaho would love to have sports betting. There are no pro teams. Boise State might as well be a Power Five Conference school in football, and probably basketball as well, with how the Broncos have played over the last few seasons, but one of the major oppositions to legalized betting has always been the integrity of the game. Well, Idaho has no pro games to fix. That’s what everybody has always been “worried” about, right?
Think about it. Idaho’s neighbor to the east, the great state of Montana, was grandfathered into the PASPA ban, so sports betting technically hasn’t been illegal. Montana has no pro teams. Mississippi is tripping over itself to get sports betting going. That’s another state without pro teams. Delaware is another one and sports betting has already started.
But, it isn’t that simple in Idaho. The state’s constitution prohibits gambling, except for the standard exceptions of the state lottery, pari-mutuel betting at race tracks, and then charity bingo games or raffles. Getting the state legislature to the table to discuss gambling has mostly been a non-starter in the state before. Will sports betting be the catalyst that it takes?
The financial benefits of legalized betting have been discussed ad nauseum, though a place like Idaho, which ranks 39th in population, wouldn’t see as much as other states. That being said, some money is better than no money, right?!
Recent News Stories About Betting
Shortly after PASPA was struck down, NBC 6 KPVI tackled the topic on the air with thoughts from a state rep.
The Idaho Business Review ($) had a rather pessimistic view on the short-term chances of a change to the state constitution regarding betting.
Then again, the Coeur d’Alene Press talked to reps from that area and it took on a more optimistic tone.
Idaho really has nothing to lose, except for more money across state lines to Washington, Nevada, and Montana. We’ll see what Oregon has in store, but Nevada already has sports betting, Washington probably will, and Montana has no provisions against it, they just haven’t really implemented it. Idaho could end up moving fairly quickly, since pari-mutuel betting is already allowed and it would be a pretty isolated hobby with only a few big population centers.