Idaho Online Poker Laws

Idaho Online Poker Law

For a brief time in 2010, Idaho became a refuge for displaced online poker players from Washington state, after Washington legislature explicitly made it a crime to play any type of casino game online, including poker. At the time, the law in Washington was the strictest in the country, and it left online poker players out of commission.

Now, Idaho sits as dark as most of the rest of the country, and unless an all-state inclusive federal law or executive online poker order somehow gets approved, its residents have a long time to wait until online poker comes back to this beautiful state.

And a long time may actually mean never, in this case. State Rep. Vito Barbieri told in 2012 that he highly doubts any momentum to create online poker in Idaho had a chance to succeed. “I don’t think it is possible in Idaho, at least not in the present political environment,” said Barbieri.

When asked about it, other state representatives showed they have no idea how the online gambling and poker industry is going to play out in the United States. One, State Rep. Marv Hagedorn, said Idaho shouldn’t try to get into the online casino and poker game because “…the other states’ ‘rush’ to get that business will result in few dollars for them, as that market is already pretty much saturated with private companies already offering the same services (many outside the U.S. borders that have never had to worry about U.S. laws over the Internet).”

Marv may have missed the whole federal online poker crackdown that played out starting in 2006, with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. Given that, he also probably isn’t privy to the billions of dollars likely to be generated by online poker in the United States in the near future.

When Will Online Poker Come to Idaho?

However, let’s not pick on Marv. He is only one of the dozens of elected officials, who occupy desks in state capitols across the United States, that haven’t put one volt of thought toward this issue. In states like Idaho, it will take a loud voice from its citizens in order for its elected officials to even start considering the legality of online poker.

Barbieri says there’s one thing that would make his colleagues have to consider online gaming — financial despair.

“The thing that militates for doing that (online gambling) is the state’s desperation for funds, and their ability to tax those winnings. So, it could be that the issue would have to come up as the state continues to look for new resources to fund bureaucracies. It’s not something that you would definitely want to write off in the future, but I would say it won’t happen in the present environment.”