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.
What does it mean to be the best? It is a pretty subjective thing, as each individual user is likely to have a different answer. Some bettors value a sign-up bonus over live betting. Other bettors value fair odds over the best user experience.
All we can do is attempt to steer you in the right direction. As far as we’re concerned, DraftKings, PointsBet, BetMGM, BetRivers, and William Hill all have areas of excellence and also areas where they come up shorter than their competitors.
Let’s take a deeper look at what makes these five top Iowa sportsbooks the best in their own ways.
The process for betting on sports in Iowa got a lot easier on January 1, 2021. With so many sportsbooks spread across the state, it wasn’t all that difficult to fulfill the state’s In-Person Registration requirement. All interested bettors had to do was go to a retail sportsbook, sign up for the app, make a deposit, and start placing bets.
But, we live in an era when convenience trumps all. Remember when you had to actually go to a computer to look something up? Now you can find it in mere seconds on your smartphone or voice your question to Alexa, Siri, or a Google Home. It takes no effort. No thought. You don’t even have to move if you don’t want to, let alone everything else you can do from the comfort of your backside.
On January 1, 2021, the In-Person Registration requirement in Iowa expired. That made Iowa a Remote Registration state. It means that you can sign up from anywhere for a sports betting account. Imagine how convenient that would have been during the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic. Illinois paused their in-person requirement and became a top-five state for sports betting in a hurry. Iowa has had legalized sports betting since August 15, 2019 and the in-person requirement has held the state back.
Either way, better late than never in Iowa and this will streamline the process for how to bet on sports in Iowa.
With big brand names, small local and regional sportsbooks, and a lot of choices, it is important to know how to get started. We’re here to help you do exactly that.
With the In-Person Registration requirement dead and buried, you can now sign up from anywhere for a sports betting account in Iowa. In fact, you don’t even have to live in Iowa to sign up. You do, however, have to be geolocated within the state borders to make a deposit, place a bet, or request a withdrawal.
Remote Registration means that technology employed by the sports betting operator will be able to validate your identity and your account. The legal age for sports betting in Iowa is 21 and over.
With 19 casinos in the state, there are a lot of different operators and licensees. Some are big, national or global brands like William Hill, DraftKings, PointsBet, and FanDuel, while others are either just starting out or are bigger in Europe like BetFair, Betfred, or Bet.Works.
Now, we have to get you signed up to bet on sports in Iowa. Let’s talk about that process:
This is critically important. You have a ton of choices. I just mentioned seven different operators above, with William Hill, DraftKings, PointsBet, BetRivers, FanDuel, BetFair, Betfred, and Bet.Works, but there are also regional sportsbooks like Elite, Q, and you can even sign up with Hard Rock.
Find the sportsbook that best fits your needs. If you are looking for the max value out of a sign-up bonus, both DraftKings and PointsBet have sign-up bonuses worth up to $1,000 in value. For PointsBet, you get two risk-free bets. For DraftKings, you get one risk-free bet and a 20% Deposit Match Bonus. “Risk-free bet” means that you get a refund in free bets if your wager loses, but you don’t get anything out of that offer if your bet wins, except for the peace of mind you had making the wager.
PointsBet also offers a 100% Deposit Match Bonus up to $250. BetRivers also offers a Deposit Match Bonus up to $250. William Hill offers the same, but up to $500. If the sign-up bonus is your primary deciding factor, make sure you find the one that works best for you. Generally speaking, a match bonus is a better option, but your view may vary.
You may want to focus on what a sportsbook has to offer on a daily and weekly basis. For example, PointsBet and DraftKings are always running special promotions with Boosted Odds or Double Your Money bonuses. William Hill also runs a lot of weekend promotions.
Some sportsbooks have more extensive props and futures betting options. Others have reduced juice on spreads and money lines for local teams. Do your research. Consider what matters most to you. Then make your pick. You may even choose multiple sportsbooks so that you can line shop for the best odds or utilize a variety of promotions and offers.
Again, that could be sportsbooks, plural. Once you’ve made your decision, you have to get started by signing up for an account. The registration process is very easy now that Iowa allows Remote Registration.
You simply have to go to the website or download the app for the sportsbook you want to sign up at and then follow the prompts and instructions. You might have to click a big SIGN UP or REGISTER button to get where you need to go. If you click on an affiliate link through us at ATS, you’ll likely be sent directly to the registration page.
All you have to do is enter some personal information so that your identity and age can be verified. It is the same basic information that you’d give for just about anything else.
Sports betting operators use state-of-the-art cybersecurity and encryption technology to keep your personal and financial info safe and protected, so you don’t have to worry about that.
Remember back in Step 1? You were deciding where to sign up and the Welcome Bonus was a big factor. You don’t want to get shut out because you didn’t click an affiliate link from ATS.io or forgot to enter the promo code like ATS or ATS300. Be sure to get that deposit bonus because it is one of the biggest selling points to sign up at these places.
Once you’ve entered your code to ensure that you will get what is being offered and advertised, you’ll have to actually send money to the site. Most deposit methods are universal. Credit and debit card are going to be accepted just about everywhere, along with electronic banking transactions like an ACH, e-check, or bank wire. Some sportsbooks even welcome third-party payment processors like PayPal. Others take a Prepaid card.
If you really want to, you can go the old school route and deposit cash at the casino cage or the sportsbook, but that defeats the purpose of the Remote Registration option. If you wanted to go deposit in-person, you could have done that any time over the 16 months with the In-Person Registration requirement.
Another really important step in the entire process of starting your sports betting profile is to know what you want to achieve. If this is just fun money and an entertainment expense to add some extra juice to a game that you are watching, then make sure to keep it lighthearted and enjoyable. If you want to take it more seriously, that’s your prerogative, but keep in mind that it could lessen your enjoyment of the games.
Don’t bet over your means. Don’t decide between that wager on the Hawkeyes against the Spartans or the Cyclones against the Sooners and paying a utility bill or buying a nice dinner for your family. The hardest choices you should be making are on who and what to bet, not whether or not you can afford the bet. If it gets to that point, you need to stop and reevaluate.
Some sportsbooks have provisions in place where users can set daily, weekly, or monthly betting limits to ensure that they don’t take it too far. You can also ask customer service to put these provisions in place if you are worried about your own willpower.
With 19 casinos in Iowa, there are a lot of sports betting operators that have multiple licenses, but you still have a lot of choices. The In-Person Registration requirement forced an operator like DraftKings to have retail betting options at all of the Wild Rose properties. Similarly, William Hill has all of the Isle properties and also Lakeside and Prairie Meadows.
Somebody like PointsBet benefits from the Remote Registration option because their lone sportsbook was at Catfish Bend. These are all options available to you now, regardless of where you live in the state or if you even live in the state. Remember, as long as you can physically be in Iowa at the time you deposit or place your bets, you can legally bet on sports in Iowa.
Let’s evaluate some of your options:
The global leader in sports betting is actually a publicly-traded company on the London Stock Exchange. William Hill Sportsbook has been around since the 1930s and has a strong presence in the state of Iowa. Operations for William Hill US started in the 2010s and their reach has grown about as rapidly as sports betting has in the United States.
You can get up to a $500 Deposit Bonus at William Hill.
As mentioned, PointsBet should get an increased market share with the new rules now that they are not limited to the areas around Catfish Bend. PointsBet offers a lot of special promotions and perks to Iowans and also has the innovative PointsBetting higher-risk, higher-reward way of gambling on sports.
There are two deposit bonus offers with PointsBet, a 100% Deposit Match Bonus up to $250 or a bonus worth up to $1,000 with a $500 Risk-Free Fixed Odds Wager and a $500 Risk-Free PointsBetting Wager. Remember, “risk-free” means you get a refund in free bets if your bet loses.
DraftKings Sportsbook has multiple skins in Iowa through the Wild Rose family of gaming locations. This is a well-known operator because of its daily fantasy sports (DFS) background around the nation, including Iowa. That amount of visibility has allowed DraftKings to be one of the most successful betting operators in this realm of legal sports wagering.
You can get up to $1,000 in value with a sign-up bonus from DraftKings, split between a Risk-Free Bet and a Deposit Match Bonus.
BetRivers decided to wait until January 1, 2021 to launch the mobile app in Iowa. That, of course, coincided with the end of the In-Person Registration requirement. BetRivers is a solid product that has been extremely popular in both Indiana and Illinois and should develop a good rapport with Iowa customers with the launch of the mobile app.
You can get a Deposit Match Bonus up to $250 at BetRivers.
Other sportsbooks that are up and running in Iowa include FanDuel, Elite (Bet.Works), Betfred, BetFair, Q (IGT), and Hard Rock (Gaming Innovation Group).
The Remote Registration opportunity makes it easier than ever before to place bets on sporting events in Iowa. The only drawback now is that you cannot live bet college sports in Iowa, but that is a small price to pay relative to the previous inconveniences of having to sign up in-person to register your account.
There are a lot of options for Iowans and you have to carefully consider which sportsbook best suits your needs and which sportsbook is going to give you the best chance at achieving your goals. Places like William Hill, PointsBet, DraftKings, and BetRivers are a safe bet to check both of those boxes and they make it extremely easy to register, deposit, and start betting.
If you still have questions, we’d love to help. We have a lot of helpful content with our sportsbook reviews and general industry coverage or you can always reach out to see what we think.
As of January 1, 2021, the state of Iowa no longer 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, 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 pro 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. Including all Major League sports like NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and College Sports 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.