The NCAA Champion will be crowned tonight. Can I legally bet on the Zags?

What are the sports gambling laws in Washington and Idaho?

This time last year COVID-19 shut down the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, aka March Madness. Now, not only is March Madness back, but new ways to get in on the action are on the horizon. Nationally, the legalization of “sports wagering” has become a hot-topic, as twenty-five states and Washington D.C. have opened legalized sports bets to more than 146 million people. So, what is the current state of sports wagering in Washington and Idaho?

Washington’s sports book delayed until fall.

Amid last year’s widespread shutdown of live athletic events, Gov. Inslee signed legislation authorizing sports wagering. The legislation permits in-person and mobile sports wagering at tribal casinos in the state.
However, Washington-based fans will have to wait until next year to place bets on March Madness. The State Gambling Commission has yet to finalize the regulatory details for the Washington Tribal sports book. The hope is that Tribal Casinos will be ready to open up to sports wagering in time for football season.

Idaho is still a no-go on sports wagering.

Sports betting remains illegal in the state of Idaho. One exception is offshore sports books and casinos. However, proceed with caution. While not technically illegal for Americans to play on, offshore gambling sites present risks, as they are not licensed or regulated by US laws.

What about online options?

Washington’s new laws permit the transmission of gambling information over the internet; however, wagers must be physically placed at a tribal “gaming facility.” Accordingly, popular online sports books, such as DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo! Daily Fantasy, will continue to block players with Washington and Idaho IP-Addresses for the foreseeable future.

Has my office bracket competition rendered my workplace a gambling den?

NO – The new Washington laws regulate “sports wagering,” which means the business of accepting wagers on sporting events, athletic events, or competitions. Washington’s regulations on gambling aim to restrain the “close relationship between professional gambling and organized crime.” The legislature has made clear that its intent is not to restrict individuals from participating in “activities and social pastimes [that] are more for amusement rather than for profit, do not maliciously affect the public, and do not breach the peace.” Wagers amongst friends or office pools is not covered.

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