Will Idaho Sports Betting be the Final Frontier for Legal Wagering in the United States?

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Jun 4, 2024 08:00 PM
Will Idaho Sports Betting be the Final Frontier for Legal Wagering in the United States?

Let’s not mince words: The outlook on Idaho sports betting is unknowable at best. And at worst, the future of Idaho sports betting is nonexistent.

This subject has been covered time and again in this very space. Especially following the turn of the calendar. State legislations tend to meet at the beginning of every year. Some convene until the late spring. During this period, new initiatives are proposed and sometimes approved. That’s why discussions about online sports betting in the United States tend to increase at the start of each year. That’s when gambling bills are introduced and new gaming laws can be ratified for implementation or approved to appear on a general election ballot.

Not surprisingly, there was virtually no talk about the legalization of sports betting in Idaho during this year’s window. State officials continue to show zero appetite for it. The opposition is both widespread and for a variety of reasons, and there’s no telling when that will change.

This got us thinking: Will Idaho be the last state in the USA to legalize sports betting? (Assuming, of course they ever do.) Let’s find out.

Where Does Idaho Sports Betting Rank Relative to Other Timelines in the USA?

Tackling the trajectory of Idaho sports betting is best done by digging into the status of the subject in other states that have yet to legalize it. What better way to do that than by ranking the places who are most likely to shift their gaming laws before Idaho

As of June 2024, sports betting remains illegal in 12 of 50 states. This number includes the Gem State. Relative to past, present and future talks, we’ll order each of these places based on how soon they will (might) launch sports betting.

1. Missouri Sports Betting

Though sports betting in Missouri continues to lack support in the Senate, the state’s pro franchises may have found a workaround. They recently submitted a petition to put a Missouri sports betting bill on the November ballot. The filing included the necessary number of signatures—and then some. So there’s still a chance Missouri sports betting gets legalized in 2024

2. Texas Sports Betting

We don’t necessarily feel great about this pick. The opposition to Texas sports betting remains strong. Especially from Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick.

Still, there are signs that key stakeholders believe the winds are shifting. Most notably, the Las Vegas Sands Corporation purchased a controlling stake in the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. They also bought up a bunch of land as part of (supposed) plans to construct a casino, resort and sporting venue destination. With the Texas legislature scheduled to meet in 2025, this could be the next state to approve sports gambling for rollout.

3. Minnesota Sports Betting

This spot came down to Minnesota sports betting and California sports betting. Going with the latter is tempting. But sports betting in Minnesota came oh-so-close to the finish line back in 2023. Then, in 2024, optimism reigned supreme until a scandal involving a state legislature member derailed this year’s agenda. We could easily see Minnesota sports betting legalized in 2025.

4. California Sports Betting

We’re taking a little bit of a gamble here. While many experts and stakeholders are hopeful that California sports betting gets legalized in 2025, the outlook remains ambiguous. 

Tribes seem unwilling to let online sportsbooks in the USA independently enter the market. Some have posited that online operators will simply sit out the next round of debates and wait for 2026 to make a push. But if they decide to counter-lobby against any 2025 tribal proposals, the wait for sports betting in California could lengthen.

5. Alabama Sports Betting

The future of Alabama sports betting could technically rank higher on the list. Regardless, the Crimson State is definitely going to beat out Idaho sports betting.

In fact, many believed Alabama would legalize sports betting in 2024. The addendum was inevitably billed from the legislation’s primary agenda, but it will most likely be back. And given how many Alabama sports betting bills have been proposed, we believe it’s only a matter of time before one gets over the hump.

6. Oklahoma Sports Betting

The status of Oklahoma sports betting bears some resemblance to that of Alabama. Multiple sports betting bills in the Sooner State have been proposed over the years. Governor Kevin Stitt has even attempted to amend the gaming compacts for certain tribes. 

Of course, nothing has stuck. But the root of that isn’t a lack of interest. It’s a dearth of collaboration between Governor Stitt and the tribes. Once those two parties get on the same page, it’s our opinion that Oklahoma sports betting will graduate to the fast track.

7. Hawaii Sports Betting

Hawaii would have dipped a lot further down this list if we made it just a few months ago. But oh, how quickly things change.

After showing little interest in Hawaii sports betting during previous years, select officials sponsored a bill in 2024. The initiative made it through the House of Representatives before dying in the Senate. While nothing is guaranteed, the groundwork for legalization seems to have been laid.

8. Georgia Sports Betting

Every year, it seems like Georgia sports betting gains momentum at the turn of the calendar. That optimism then fades in the coming weeks and months.

This is exactly what happened in 2024. So many believed sports betting in Georgia would get wider-spread approval in the House and Senate. However, it seems like officials can’t agree on how to legalize Georgia sports betting. 

Until they settle on an approach, the wait in the Peach State should be considered in definite. But given how much potential Georgia online sportsbooks figure to continue lobbying, we still see Idaho sports betting falling short of the Peach State’s timeline.

9. South Carolina Sports Betting

There’s nothing tangible to suggest the future of South Carolina sports betting is much brighter than sports betting in Idaho. At the same time, we expect the legalization of online sports betting in North Carolina to eventually coax the Palmetto State into action.

10. Idaho Sports Betting

At long last, we have Idaho sports betting. And yet, to be quite honest, they don’t beat out the following two states for anything that they are doing. On the contrary, the Gem State isn’t doing anything at the moment to legalize sports betting.

Putting Idaho sports wagering ahead of last place is less about its own situation and more about the others.

11. Alaska Sports Betting

As a non-member of the contiguous United States, Alaska’s interest in legal sports gambling isn’t expected to be very high. To date, they’ve shown minimal intrigue. 

Will the rise of online sports betting in the USA change that? It’s possible. After all, we’ve already started to see the perception of sports betting in Hawaii shift. The same could happen for Alaska sports betting.

12. Utah Sports Betting

If we had to pick just one state that would never legalize sports betting, we would have to go with the Beehive State. The subject of Utah sports betting receives very little shine, because, well, it’s not anywhere near the top of the list of legislative priorities. 

We don’t expect this to change anytime soon. Both moral and political opposition to sports betting in Utah remain prevalent. We’d be shocked if Idaho sports betting didn’t beat the Beehive State to the punch.

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Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

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