Once the state of Iowa approved legalized sports betting, it did not take long to get up and running. Governor Kim Reynolds signed the legislation into law in April 2019 and the Hawkeye State took its first bet on August 15. In less than two months, 18 of Iowa’s 19 casinos were taking retail bets.
At present, there are several different operators in Iowa that either provide retail or online and mobile betting. William Hill, PointsBet, DraftKings, and Hard Rock are among the biggest names that offer online sports betting. Elite Sportsbook and Q Sportsbook do as well.
Additional operators that have launched retail operations but have yet to launch mobile operations are Unibet, FanDuel, and Caesars.
At ATS, we take the time to rank the sports betting operators using a variety of different considerations and factors, including the betting interface and technology, the catalog of sports betting markets and odds, including live betting and in-play wagering, the look and appearance, and the overall user experience.
There are 19 casinos in the state of Iowa. Not all of them offer sports betting, but most of them do. That is important because if you want to bet on sports in Iowa, you will need to start at one of those retail sportsbooks.
Sports betting launched in Iowa in mid-August 2019, just in time for the football season. Unfortunately, interested parties ran into a little bit of an inconvenience in the days immediately following Iowa’s start in the sports betting world. The way in which the state law is written forces those that want to bet on sports to sign up in-person before being given access to the apps.
Now that sports betting has been around for quite some time, the wait times have been dramatically reduced. The law stipulates that for the first 18 months, those that want to place legal wagers need to sign up in-person in order to be able to go online and make those bets. It is a mild inconvenience for having the opportunity to bet on sports in a safe and regulated environment.
The process of getting signed up and registered to bet in Iowa isn’t as streamlined as it is in other states with legal sports betting usually you just sign up, deposit and bet. But due to Iowa law, players must register online at the sportsbooks website, then once registered go to a physical location to verify the users account details. This restriction is likely to go away January 1, 2021, but the state of Iowa mandates that you register in person to gain access to the sports betting apps that are legally operating in the Hawkeye State. Heres our step by step guide for the #1 Iowa sportsbook – DraftKings.
Those that live outside of Iowa and in neighboring states like Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, and Wisconsin, or those that want to drive from North Dakota or Kansas, can get signed up online for the sportsbooks however must verify in-person as well, then can only place bets when physically inside the state borders. To reiterate, geolocation tracking prevents those outside of the state borders from betting, but if you live outside of the state, you can simply commute across the border and then bet as if you lived in Iowa.
Iowa is not big on sports, unfortunately. To this end, it has only one professional sports team. However, it makes up for this with its exciting college sports scene, and it is home to some of the best minor league sports in the country. Here is a brief overview of the various teams that you can wager on in Iowa.
The Iowa Barnstormers are the only professional team in Iowa. They are members of the Indoor Football League, which not as exciting as the National Football League, unfortunately. They are also former members of the Arena Football League, and they may soon enter the NFL if they keep up their impressive performance. One of this team’s most notable wins was when it won the United Bowl against the Sioux Falls Storm in the 2018 season.
As mentioned, Iowa’s college sports scene is vibrant. The college teams here are serious about playing, and the most notable ones are:
The Cedar Rapids Titans are titans in the world of college football. They are members of the Indoor Football League.
The Cedar Rapids Kernels are stars in the state’s Minor League Baseball. They play at the Cedar Rapids Veterans Memorial Stadium.
The Cedar Rapids Roughriders excel in the Hockey scene. Their most notable wins include bagging the Anderson Cup Title in the 2004-05 and 2010-11 seasons. They also won the Clark Cup Title in the 2005-05 season.
No, a Hawkeye is not bird, but it is safe to say that legislators in the state of Iowa had eyes like a hawk when it came to legalized sports betting. Policy makers saw the financial impact that could come from allowing wagering at the state’s 19 casinos. Plans were in motion before the Supreme Court decision, but the pace quickened with the opinion that officially put PASPA to bed in the United States.
All of the sportsbooks in Iowa are governed by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission and it is not a surprise that the state’s casinos moved so quickly. The licensing process was nowhere near as prohibitive in Iowa as it has been in other states. The cost for licensing was only $75,000 with an annual $10,000 renewal fee. The tax rate is relatively low at 6.75%, so the operators didn’t have to incur substantial start-up costs.
The law also had supporting language for mobile betting. Up until 2021, those that want to download and set up an account with a sports betting app must sign-up in person at the casino. By the time that restriction is lifted, most Iowans that want to bet on sports will already be set up, but it will make signing up much more convenient for residents of adjacent states.
Almost one year to the day after that landmark decision, Governor Kim Reynolds signed the law that would allow legalized sports betting in the state of Iowa. Iowa actually became the 11th state to allow betting on sports, but the Hawkeye State wasted no time making it available in brick-and-mortar sportsbooks and via the sports betting apps.
Ironically, Independence Day in 2019 was the first day that sports betting was allowed per SF617, the bill that cleared the way for legal wagering. None of the state’s casinos were ready to go, however, until August 15. On that day, Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Lakeside Hotel & Casino in Osceola, Isle of Capri in Waterloo, Isle of Capri in Bettendorf, Rhythm City in Davenport, Riverside Casino & Golf Resort in Riverside, Ameristar Council Bluffs in Council Bluffs, and Catfish Bend in Burlington started accepting legal wagers.
At time of writing, all but one of the Iowa Casinos had sports betting or had agreements with operators to partner with. Many of the same operators that are present in a lot of other states are also setting up shop in Iowa at this point in time. With a limited number of casinos, some of the operators will be shut out, but many of the industry’s big names are partnered with the brick-and-mortar locations and will provide mobile and technological support.
Visit Catfish Bend Casino in Burlington to complete the verification process
Anyone who is located within Iowa and is 21 or over can place sports bets. Sports Bettors on Iowa’s self-exclusion lists will not be permitted to enter state casinos, and therefore will be unable to place bets.
Yes you can use bet via your phone, mobile app or via the sportsbooks website once registered and verified in Iowa.
Regulations also state that players who win in excess of $1,200 provide their social security number when cashing out.
Yes sports bettors must enable geo-location services before placing a sports wager. However you can withdrawal or deposit from anywhere. ***You do not need to be a resident of Iowa to place wagers, only within state borders when making bets.
Currently Iowa does not offer prop bets, live or in-play betting on Iowa collegiate games. Everything else is on the table including: MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA, NCAA football, basketball, Boxing, UFC, CFL, Soccer, Auto racing, Golf, Tennis
Currently Fanduel is not available to Iowa sports bettors but plans to launch soon
As sports betting continues to grow in Iowa, online casinos and poker could be coming as well, but for now, the only thing permitted outside of the brick-and-mortar casinos is sports betting.