The midwestern states in the U.S. have a certain allure to them. There is a mystique around states like Iowa that we think is likely coming from the fact that many people haven’t traveled to the state. Known more for its cornfields than anything else, Iowa is actually a hotbed of gambling activity, and given its proximity to gambling-man Illinois, this is no real surprise. We are using this page to take a look at the gambling laws currently in place in the state as well as what laws could be coming down the pike.
Sports Betting in Iowa
Iowa is one of the states that has introduced sports betting in the wake of the repeal of PASPA in 2018. The state was keen to drive tax revenues into its coffers from sports betting, so while it could not get sports betting legislation passed before the end of the 2018 government session, it did not waste time in 2019. Sports betting laws were passed in May, and the first sports bet was taken in Iowa legally on August 15th.
As with most of the states that have passed legislation, initial licenses were awarded to existing land-based gaming facilities. As a result, here is a list of places where you can walk in and make a sports bet legally in Iowa:
Diamond Jo – Worth
Harrah’s Council Bluffs
Horseshoe Council Bluffs
Isle of Capri
Most of these locations have partnered with a sports betting vendor that you have probably heard of like Draftkings, Fanduel, and William Hill, to name a few.
Online Sports Betting
With the passing of sports betting law in May 2019 came the ability for gamblers in the state to place wagers from their phones, tablets, and computers as well. This makes betting on sports even more attractive as you no longer have to go to a sportsbook to make your bets. For someone who is interested in betting during action but wants to be able to bet from home or while on the move, mobile betting is the only way to go. However, while you can download an app to your phone and create an account, in order to verify your identity you still have to make your way to a land-based sportsbook. This rule will only be in place until the end of 2020.
Now that there are many legal online sportsbooks available to Iowa residents, the offshore market is no longer an attractive option for many players. While those sportsbooks remain open for business in the state, with no legal recourse should something happen to your money or account, it is not advised to find yourself betting with a sportsbook that is not legally recognized by the gaming commission. There is enough competition in the online sports betting space in Iowa that anyone in the state looking for options to place their bets will have several to choose from, and this site will provide you with reviews of each of them to ensure you find the one that is best for you.
Horse Betting in Iowa
There is only one race track in Iowa, but that doesn’t mean the state isn’t interested in the sport. Prairie Meadows has been offering races since the late 1980s, but given that the state only has a few million residents and that population is spread around a large geographic area, the attendance at the raceway was pretty poor. Adding more incentives and products at the track has increased attendance, and also being able to simulcast races from around the United States breathed some new life into the business. Pari-mutuel betting is legal in the state and shows no signs of going anywhere at this stage.
Online Horse Betting
Despite running races and accepting bets at their facility, Prairie Meadows cannot offer online wagering to its players. This is left to companies like Twinspires, which is owned by Churchill Downs. The company doesn’t have a land-based presence or a license from the state of Iowa, but it is still able to accept deposits and wagers from its residents. This may change as each state starts to review its policies on intrastate gambling, but today if you want to bet on your favorite track online, you can do so from the handful of sites that offer these pari-mutuel betting pools.
Casino Gambling in Iowa
Like many states in the Midwest, casino gambling started in Iowa in the form of riverboat casinos. The first of these launched legally in the state in 1991, and since then there has been a huge growth in the market. What started as a handful of these riverboat casinos has morphed into a full land-based industry, with several properties across the state. It was casino games that saved the Prairie Meadows track, as they were given a chance to offer slots first and then a full set of table games, putting them on equal footing with the other casinos in the state.
Iowa is one of a handful of states that offer casinos operated by tribal communities as well as those run by casino conglomerates. This allows the tribes to be able to generate some much-needed revenue while not being shut out by the state on gaming opportunities.
Online Casinos in Iowa
Given how quickly the state turned out the sports betting legislation, casino enthusiasts are hopeful that goodwill will transfer over to their cause. To date there is no law allowing regulated online casino games like blackjack and slot machines, but with such a rich history of gaming in the state, we can’t imagine it will take long before someone in the government suggests an amendment to the regulations.
Online casinos are available to players in Iowa via the grey market (sites operating from outside the country) but just as with offshore sportsbooks, these sites present a massive risk to players. We at Betting News do not recommend that you play with any of these sites.
Lottery in Iowa
Iowa has had a vibrant lottery scene ever since the Lottery was established in 1985. The lottery is responsible for contributing to several causes in the state, so growing the revenues is a mandate from the governor’s office. The state participates in the pooled games like Powerball and Mega Millions which are generating jackpots into the billions and causing a frenzy across the country. Also, you have the option of playing any of the hundreds of scratch tickets that are available at retailers across the state.
Iowa Gambling FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Iowa?
Sports betting is legal and up and running in the state of Iowa! There are several land-based sportsbooks that are open for business in the state, and you can place a wager at those facilities or download a corresponding app to make your bets on the go. One thing to remember if you are considering playing via your device is that you will still have to verify your account in-person to complete the registration process.
What is the best online sportsbook for residents of Iowa?
How you choose a sportsbook for your online betting can be a long process. It is a very competitive market, but many of the sites tend to look the same to the novice eye. Betting News wants to help you find the best site for your gambling style, and our review section goes into detail on each available sportsbook.
In general, you want to be looking for a site that offers all the bets you want to make on all the sports you love (this will vary from book to book). Also, you want to find a site that offers the most payment methods so you can get your money to and from the site with ease. Finally, every site is going to provide you with some sort of incentive to entice you to deposit and bet often – review each offer in detail and make sure read the Terms and Conditions to ensure you are choosing the right offer for you.