Today, August 15th, is the first day that Iowan residents actually have an opportunity to legally place a wager on sporting events. The bountiful state did legalize the act roughly three months ago, but rules were not yet established by the Racing & Gaming Commission of Iowa until the last day of July. With those rules now in place, licensed sportsbooks are permitted to allow sports wagers in the state as of today’s date.
Not all licensed casinos are prepared for this, but In the city of Osceola, Lakeside Casino is one such sportsbook that will accept wagers. Interested bettors over the age of 21 can place a bet in-person. However, the sports betting laws of Iowa do allow for mobile gaming. If you do want to place mobile bets, you will need to register at a casino and provide identification to verify your age.
This in-person registration restriction is a little limiting, but it only applies until 2021. After that point, in-person registration will no longer be required for mobile betting. The fact that Iowa does allow mobile gaming at all is a great sign for the state, especially considering just how much of sports betting is conducted via online/mobile. Lakeside Casino does have a plan to incorporate this and will use a mobile app designed from sports betting powerhouse, William Hill.
William Hill’s CEO, Joe Asher, has indicated that the two biggest sports betting states (New Jersey and Nevada) mainly receive bets placed through a mobile app. More than 65% of sports wagers in Nevada are placed via mobile app, and the number only increases to 80% when looking at New Jersey’s wagers. The simple convenience of placing a wager on your phone from anywhere in the state is far more appealing than getting ready and physically going to a casino to place your bet.
Not many casinos decided to launch their sports betting services today, but those like Lakeside Casino who did choose to open will have a significant advantage over everyone else. Currently the only major events receiving wagers are golf and baseball. These are certainly great opportunities to bet, but they just aren’t as popular as football. The first game of the NFL season will feature the Bears and Packers on September 5th. This will give venues like Lakeside Casino three full weeks to sharpen their sports betting services and fix any issues before the heavy traffic begins to roll in.
There’s no question that there are plenty of ready bettors because sports betting occurs all across the country, legally or not. A great indicator of this is how quickly New Jersey Sportsbooks surpassed Nevada in sports wagers. Both states serve as the betting headquarters of either coast, but it took just one year for there to be more bets placed in New Jersey.
The tax rate for any revenue made from sports betting is just 6.75% in Iowa. This number is fairly small, even in comparison to other states in the country. Nevada also has just a 6.75% tax rate, but New Jersey ranges between 8% and 14.5% depending on where the bet was placed and even West Virginia has a 10% tax rate. Despite this, sports betting is not expected to be a major source of income because most of the state’s betting revenue would still come from slot machines.
It’s a bright new day in Iowa for those interested in sports betting. There will surely be a few challenges in the next few weeks, but today is a landmark event for the 11th state to legalize sports betting!