Iowa Sports Betting

In the era of state-regulated sports betting in the United States, few have done it better than Iowa. Following the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down PASPA, which opened the door to legal sports betting, the state acted quickly and efficiently, and now offers one of the most robust wagering marketplaces in the country. 

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Its legalizing document was signed by the Governor in May 2019, and just a few months later Iowa became the first state to launch both online and retail sports betting at the same time. Iowa is now covered with brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, and a growing list of online options. On this page we’ll breakdown everything you need to know about sports betting in the Hawkeye State.

General Iowa Sports Betting Info

Who’s allowed to bet on sports in Iowa? Generally speaking there are a few key requirements that prospective bettors must meet.

There are a few other niche rules, like if you’re banned from a casino, or are a coach/player/trainer for a team that you can potentially bet on, then you’re now allowed to bet. However, in most cases if you can pass the age and location tests, you’re good to go.

State to State Differences

In the post-PASPA world each state is able to individually pursue sports betting and form its own rules. This means that the regulated market will look a little different in each state that has embraced it. Here are a few notable details that currently shape the market in Iowa.

In-Person Registration

Iowa elected to require in-person registration for online sports betting. In-person registration is typically a hindrance to the growth of the market, as it requires potential online bettors to visit a casino to set up their account. It also regionalizes the industry as bettors are less likely to drive across the state to sign up with a specific operator, if there are closer, more convenient options.

Thankfully, Iowa’s in-person requirement isn’t permanent, and will expire on January 1st, 2021. At that point, bettors will be able to do everything entirely online. But until then, head to the casino with your driver’s license (or other approved photo ID) to get set up.

College Props

In an effort to protect amateur athletes, Iowa also eected to restrict prop betting on college sports. This means you won’t be able to wager on things like a college running backs total yardage, or how many 3 pointers a specific basketball player hits.

Individual international sports are also off limits if the participants are under 18.

Licensing

It’s relatively inexpensive to get set up as a licensee in Iowa, which has opened the door for plenty of operators to enter the state. A sports betting license will run you just $45K, and will require a $10K renewal fee each year. In addition, each licensee can operate two separate skins.

The tax rate was also set a a very operator-friendly 6.75%. By comparison, New Jersey taxes at 8.5%, West Virginia at 10%, and Pennsylvania at a whopping 36%.

Active Iowa Sportsbooks

Iowa has an impressive 19 state-licensed casinos, each of which has now acquired a sports betting license and is eligible to operate a sportsbook. Under state law, all 19 could also host two separate online sports betting skins as well. Keep in mind, before you can bet online you’ll need to visit one of the listed retail partners to set up an account.

Below is a list of every brick-and-mortar casino in the state and their current online wagering affiliations:

CasinoRetail LaunchOnline Skin(s)Online Launch
Isle BettendorfAugust 15, 2019William HillAugust 15, 2019
Isle WaterlooAugust 15, 2019William HillAugust 15, 2019
Prairie MeadowsAugust 15, 2019William HillAugust 15, 2019
LakesideAugust 15, 2019William HillAugust 15, 2019
Rhythm CityAugust 15, 2019Elite SportsbookAugust 27, 2019
RiversideAugust 15, 2019Elite SportsbookAugust 27, 2019
Grand FallsAugust 15, 2019Elite Sportsbook / BetfredAug 27, 2019 / Jul 7, 2020
Q CasinoAugust 27, 2019Q SportsbookNovember 12, 2019
Catfish BendAugust 15, 2019PointsBetNovember 26, 2019
Hard Rock Sioux CitySeptember 20, 2019Hard RockDecember 16, 2019
Wild Rose ClintonOctober 3, 2019DraftKingsFebruary 19, 2020
Wild Rose EmmetsburgOctober 3, 2019DraftKingsFebruary 19, 2020
Wild Rose JeffersonOctober 3, 2019DraftKingsFebruary 19, 2020
AmeristarAugust 15, 2019TBDTBD
HorseshoeAugust 23, 2019Caesars, UnibetTBD
Harrah's Council BluffsAugust 23, 2019Caesars, UnibetTBD
Diamond JoAugust 29, 2019FanDuelTBD
Diamond Jo WorthAugust 29, 2019FanDuelTBD

Online Sportsbooks Available Now

In this section we’ll breakdown each of the online sportsbooks that are currently live and accepting bets in Iowa.

William Hill

In addition to being the joint-first brick-and-mortar book to go live in the state on Aug. 15, 2019, William Hill was also the first online operator to take bets in the state on the same day. It’s four partner properties will give William Hill a strong grip in both central and south-eastern Iowa until in-person registration expires in 2021.

UK-based William Hill has been accepting sports bets around the world since the 1930s, and brings heaps of valuable experience to the Iowa scene. 

Elite Sportsbook

Elite Sportsbook is as close to a small-town online operator as you’ll find. It’s owned by Elite Casino Resorts, which owns and operates three excellent Iowa casino sites, Riverside, Rhythm City, and Grand Falls. ECR’s entire operation is in the state of Iowa.

Elite Sportsbook uses the accomplished Bet.Works tech platform, and was the second online book to launch in the state on August 27, 2019.

Q Sportsbook

Q Sportsbook is unique in that it operates online entirely through an app, there is no browser-based sportsbook option. The user friendly app, which it developed through a partnership with experienced tech partner IGT, offers users an excellent overall experience.

The Q Casino in Dubuque serves as Q Sportsbooks’ retail partner, and was the third site to launch with mobile sports betting in Iowa.

PointsBet

PointsBet is one of the hottest names in regulated U.S. sports betting. Their innovative sportsbook features all of the traditional lines and betting options that customers will expect, but they’ve also got exclusive options that others don’t, like PointsBetting. PointsBetting keeps bettors on the edge of their seats for every second of the action, because every play can matter. 

An Australia-based company, PointsBet was founded in 2017 and has made huge strides in a short time. Iowa became PointsBet’s second state of operation, behind New Jersey, when it opened its online doors on November 26, 2019. 

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Hard Rock

Hard Rock was the last online operator to launch in Iowa during 2019, officially accepting bets on December 16th. Its mobile platform is run by Gaming Innovation Group, GiG, one of the industry’s most prominent tech partners. Brick-and-mortar operations are headquartered at the Hard Rock Sioux City which is located right on the border with both Nebraska and South Dakota, which increases out of state traffic.

DraftKings

DraftKings is the largest operator in the daily fantasy sports industry, and is now successfully expanding its web to include sports betting. DraftKings sportsbooks are active in numerous regulated states, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and more.

DraftKings’ retail operations began on October 3rd, 2019 at each of its three partner casinos in the state. After a slight delay, it rolled out its mobile app and online platform on February 19, becoming the first Iowa site to launch in 2020.

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Betfred

UK-based Betfred has grown from just a single betting shop outside Manchester in 1967, to one of the world’s largest sportsbooks. Iowa is the company’s first of many U.S. states, where its online betting app and will operate as the second of two possible skins on the Grand Falls Casino license. Elite Sportsbook remains the on-premise retail sponsor.

Iowa Online Sportsbooks On The Way

Over time more online sportsbooks will arrive in Iowa. Some partnerships we already know about, and for some we can merely speculate. Here’s what we know about things to come:

FanDuel

FanDuel’s retail sportsbook was live in Iowa on August 29, 2019, just two weeks after the statewide launch. Mobile operations, though, have not moved as quickly. It remains highly likely that FanDuel will eventually bring its mobile wagering platforms to the state – the only question is when?

Caesars Sports

Caesasrs Sports is also expected to launch a mobile app for Iowa bettors, having already opened two B+M sites in the state. Caesars Spots already operates in other states, like New Jersey, and is the company’s flagship sportsbook brand.

Unibet

Unibet has agreed to terms with Caesars Entertainment to offer sportsbooks in the state of Iowa. The popular EU-bookmaker will be a skin on the Caesars license, which is based out of the Harrah’s and Horseshoe casinos in Council Bluffs. Unibet will not be the retail sponsor for those books, which have already begun accepting action.

Other brands we could eventually see include FOX Bet, BetAmerica, 888 Sports, Barstool Sportsbook, and more. We will update accordingly as the space develops. 

Iowa Betting Options

There are just a few restrictions in Iowa when it comes to available betting options, and they are centered around college prop bets. As we explained above, you can’t make any individual college prop bets in the state. Other than that, Iowa sports bettors will have a full sheet at their disposal, including (but not limited to):

Sites like PointsBet also bring new, unique wagering options like PointsBetting to the Iowa sports betting market.

Iowa Sportsbook Banking Methods

Before you can place a bet, you’ll need to fund your sportsbook account. For the time being, the easiest way to do this is in-person, at the casino that partners with your online book. All sports bettors will need to sign up in-person as per the current law, so while you’re there, it’s easy to deposit some cash and load up the account.

After that, it’s possible to deposit or withdraw from an account using popular options like:

Each site will have different methods, so be sure to check the cashier of your chosen online sportsbooks to see what is available to you.

Iowa Sports Betting Platforms

Iowa bettors can place wagers online using mobile apps (iOS and Android), and through their favorite internet browsers. iOS apps are easy to find within the Apple app store, Android users can also try their app store, but may have to visit the sportsbooks website directly to find a download link.

As for browser-based betting, simply load up your preferred option, Chrome, FireFox, Safari, etc., and visit your chosen sportsbook. Log-in, and you’re good to go.

Why You Should Bet With a Legal Sportsbook

If given the option between an online sportsbook that’s been approved by the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission, or your old offshore bookmaker… choose the regulated option every time. There’s a level of convenience, and more importantly safety, that can’t be matched with the legal market.

They’re Trustworthy

Legal sports betting operations in the US are safe, secure, and absolutely trustworthy. In betting with one, there’s peace of mind in knowing it has jumped through the proper hoops, paid the right fees, and is committed to bringing its customers a class product. A licensed book isn’t going to shut down overnight and take your money – they are completely legit.

Easy Transactions

Another major plus about the regulated sports betting market is that financial transactions are a breeze. You can link a bank account for direct transfers, use a credit card, ewallet, pay in cash at the casino, etc. Your old offshore site will have to tiptoe around this aspect of the business due to federal law.

More Choices, Better Value

Simply put, the more options you have for online sports betting, the more value bettors will get. The more choices you have, the more likely you are to find a free bet, a reload bonus, an odds boost, etc. that helps give you an edge. Competition between operators will create better products for Iowa sports bettors to enjoy.

A History of Gambling in Iowa

Seniors bingo, that’s where it all began. Until the early 70’s all forms of gambling were prohibited in Iowa until a seniors bingo game got the conversation started. In 1973 the Iowa General Assembly moved to permit bingo, raffles, and some other games of chance.

Horse and dog racing got the “OK” a decade later in 1983, and the Iowa lottery began operations in 1985. In the early 90’s a more expansive gaming bill was passed, which included an expansion of the lottery to include PowerBall and MegaMillions, as well as the addition of riverboat casinos. From that point on, riverboat and brick-and-mortar properties have popped up all over the state, offering a full assortment of games. Iowa is now home to 23 casinos, 19 with a state license, and 4 Native American facilities. 

Iowa’s sports betting bill, SF 617, passed the legislature with bipartisan support in April 2019. A few weeks later on May 13, 2019, Governor Kim Reynolds placed her signature on the bill turning it into law, officially legalizing sports betting in Iowa. The first regulated bets were placed in-person, and online just a few months later on August 15th.

Shortly after sports betting got the go-ahead, Iowa elected to officially regulate and approve its daily fantasy sports industry. Overseen by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, DraftKings was the first operator to enter the Iowa market in October 2019, in time for the second half of the NFL season.

FAQ

Is sports betting legal in Iowa?
Sports betting is 100% legal in Iowa. However, that only includes bets that are placed with a licensed operator. If you’re betting with an offshore site, or with your guy at the bowling alley… not so much.

Who oversees the Iowa sports betting industry?
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission is in charge of regulating sports betting operations and awarding licenses in the state.

What’s the legal age to bet sports in Iowa?
Twenty-one (21) years old. If you can’t enter a casino and game in the state, you can’t place a bet on sports.

Does Iowa permit online sports betting?
Absolutely, online betting is key to Iowa’s sports betting industry. You can bet online with iOS and Android mobile apps, and using a web browser.

What casinos in the state offer retail sports betting?
Pretty much all of them – the full list of state licensed retail sportsbooks can be found in the table above.

Can I sign up online?
Unfortunately not, until January 1st, 2021, all bettors will need to complete the registration process in-person, at a casino.