Online Gambling in Iowa


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Not legal


Not legal

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Online Sports Betting in Iowa
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Iowa sports betting is legal and easily accessible through multiple mobile sites as well as brick-and-mortar casinos. The Hawkeye State was the 11th in the nation to take a legal sports wager and just the fifth to take a bet via a mobile device. The most progressive gaming adopter in the Midwest, it was no surprise Iowa moved quickly to become the first state with legal betting on sporting events in the region.

These online offerings make Iowa’s sports betting infrastructure one of the more expansive in the nation. But there are some rules in Iowa that aren’t in effect in other states. The most significant is a restriction on some in-game proposition bets on individual collegiate players from schools in Iowa, as well as players for opposing teams. This ban is relatively minor when considering overall betting offerings. Bets on the outcomes of games or point totals for college teams, including the Iowa Hawkeyes and Iowa State Cyclones, are legal.

Sports bettors in Iowa will need to register in person at a licensed gaming facility in order to place a mobile wager. But that requirement sunsets in 2021. Once registered at land-based or riverboat casinos, eligible players can place a bet from anywhere within the state boundaries using a regulated mobile app or website.

Though the current in-person registration requirement could be a hassle, Iowa makes it easy to find a casino. There are more than two-dozen gaming centers spread across the state, including commercial land-based as well as riverboat casinos to complement a trio of Native American facilities. The number and details of new online and in-person sportsbooks continue to change, so follow for the latest information on the best Iowa casinos and sports betting operators.

Daily Fantasy Sports in Iowa
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Iowa daily fantasy sports are regulated and legal. These games weren’t legal in the state until 2019. Fortunately for DFS players, that prohibition is just a memory.

Top DFS providers such as FanDuel and DraftKings didn’t even accept players until 2019. Iowa was one of the few states to deem DFS offerings as games of luck, rather than skill, and were subsequently subject to gambling statutes.

That changed when lawmakers approved the 2019 sports betting bill. Though the online and in-person sports wagering provisions garnered the biggest headlines, the legislation also opened the door for DFS operators to become regulated, legal purveyors.

The DFS sites are subject to government regulations and approval. The full lineup of daily fantasy sites is still in flux. But players can be assured the games are now fully legal in Iowa.

Online Casino Gambling in Iowa
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Iowa online casino gambling doesn’t enjoy the same access as the state’s brick-and-mortar offerings. Real-money online casino games such as slots or blackjack remain illegal. Online sports betting was also illegal until 2019, so there’s still hope lawmakers may soon change state restrictions. Until then, will keep tabs on developments from Des Moines.

Online casino enthusiasts can take heart in Iowa’s reputation as a gaming pioneer. The state sparked the Midwestern casino riverboat race in 1991 and has continually pushed the envelope with new gaming developments. Online sports betting is just the latest example of this approach.

Though lawmakers haven’t seriously considered a significant online casino bill, the changing dynamics of the US gambling market, and online gaming in particular, could begin to thaw opposition. There’s no timeframe for when real-money online casino gaming will begin. But if its history is any indication, Iowa should be a safe bet to be one of the nation’s earlier adopters.

Online Poker in Iowa
Not Legal

Iowa real-money online poker is not legal. It has run into a similar legislative dead end as online casino gaming. Despite the proliferation of in-person gaming, online offerings have not been a priority for lawmakers.

There’s still a good chance Iowa could become the first state with online poker. Michigan seemed ready to snatch that honor in 2018, but an unexpected veto by the state’s outgoing governor, Rick Snyder, thwarted a sweeping online poker and iCasino bill. While Michigan restarts its online gaming push, Iowa could introduce a bill ahead of its 2020 legislative session that would begin real-money games in the Midwest.

That effort remains largely undefined for now. Like with internet gaming, online poker doesn’t have much momentum in the halls of the statehouse. Both gaming offerings would be logical companions should elected officials support such a legislative proposal.

Iowa has a rich tradition as a gaming innovator and internet poker, as part of a larger online gaming expansion bill, would be a sensible next step. It remains to be seen when real-money online poker could come to Iowa.

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Gambling in Iowa

Few states have had as big an impact on the national gaming environment as Iowa.

Much like New Jersey’s progressive gambling moves sparked developments across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, Iowa has been the pioneering gambling jurisdiction in the Midwest. The state was the first with commercial riverboat casinos in the region and has continued its role as a leader ever since.

This continues with online and in-person sports betting. It’s no surprise that Iowa wasn’t the only state in the Midwest to pass a sports betting bill in 2019: Indiana and Illinois were right behind it. This trio hopes legal sports betting in its own borders will keep players from crossing state lines to wager or, better yet, attract a new group of customers from neighboring jurisdictions.

Thanks in large part to Iowa proactive gambling moves, more states in the region are likely to begin offering sports bets. With online sports betting already available, players can expect the next frontier – online casino gaming and poker – to follow.

Timeline of Gambling Legislation in Iowa

1 of 8

Mobile and in-person sports betting is legalized, as are daily fantasy games. As many as two dozen casinos are expected to begin taking bets in person and through online partners.

2 of 8

The counties of Black Hawk, Palo Alto, Worth and Wapello approve gambling referendums.

3 of 8

Lawmakers strike down the $5 per hand maximum stake amount and also allow 24-hour gambling.

4 of 8

Three Native American casinos begin operations.

5 of 8

The first riverboat casino in Iowa takes its first bet.

6 of 8

Simulcast wagering is approved on horse races, allowing bettors to wager on races taking place in other states.

7 of 8

Iowa ratifies its first state-sanctioned lottery.

8 of 8

Iowa permits pari-mutuel horse and dog racing and appoints its first Racing and Gaming Commission members, paving the way for future gambling developments in ensuing decades.

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