Iowa closed out 2020 with an all-time high sports betting handle, and even better days are just ahead.
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Iowa legalized sports betting in May 2019. Both retail and online sports betting began in August 2019. Each of the state’s retail sportsbooks can partner with up to two mobile sportsbook brands.
Iowa’s online sportsbooks were somewhat stymied by a law that required players to register in-person at a casino before using that sportsbook’s online app. That regulation expired on Jan. 1, 2021, meaning a sports bettor can now sign up for an account on a smartphone, mobile device or home computer. Proximity to a retail sportsbook or casino no longer makes a difference. Players interested in giving other Iowa mobile betting apps a try can now do so without having to travel hundreds of miles to sign up.
Most of the national sports betting industry leaders operate in Iowa, with additional apps planning to launch now that mobile registration is permitted. The current list of online sportsbooks in Iowa (land-based licensee in parentheses):
The following sportsbooks announced plans to enter the Iowa online sports betting market and expect to launch soon:
While each Iowa casino can partner with only two online brands, online operators don’t face the same restrictions and can partner with any number of licensed casinos.
Iowa online sportsbooks offer all of the most popular sports wagers and betting options, including:
Point spread: The most popular football wager. One team is favored over another by a specific number of points. The sportsbook determines the point spread, then adjusts the number based on the amount of money wagered on each team.
Moneyline: A bet on a team to win a game with no point spread. Moneyline is the odds for each team to win the game, expressed by a negative (favorite) or positive (underdog) number. Let’s say Iowa is -130 in a college football game against Indiana, which is +110. Iowa bettors wager $130 to win $100. Backers of underdog Indiana risk $100 to win $110.
Parlay: A wager combining two or more teams, all of which must win. The more teams in the parlay, the higher the potential payout.
Over/under: A bet that the combined number of points scored by both teams in a game will be over or under the total set by the sportsbook.
Teaser: A parlay wager in which bettors can adjust point spreads to their advantage in return for reduced odds.
In-game: Also known as live betting, these are wagers are placed after a game has started. Odds are adjusted in real time as the game progresses.
Futures bet: Betting on a team or sporting event to be determined at a later date. For example, betting on Iowa State to win the NCAA Tournament before or during the college basketball season.
Prop bet: Betting on something that may or may not occur during a game, such as how many touchdown passes Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes will throw in the first quarter or first half.
Sports betting apps allow a sports bettor access to wagering, odds and payment options 24/7 on a smartphone or mobile device from anywhere inside the state. The apps are free, generally available on iOS and Android systems, and can be downloaded from the App Store or the website of your online Iowa sportsbook.
Among the most popular sports betting apps in Iowa:
William Hill: The state’s leading sportsbook app in betting handle has online partnerships with a half-dozen Iowa land-based casinos, including retail leader Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino in Altoona. William Hill agreed to be purchased by Caesars Entertainment in 2020, strengthening Caesars’ digital presence.
DraftKings: Partnered with Iowa’s three Wild Rose casino properties, with Wild Rose-Jefferson No. 2 in the state in sports gambling handle. DraftKings is an industry powerhouse in both online betting and Daily Fantasy Sports. The most popular sportsbook app in several states, DraftKings offers several live betting markets for almost every game.
FanDuel: Partner of Diamond Jo Casinos is battling DraftKings to be dominant national player in online betting and Daily Fantasy Sports. Available in nearly every legal sports betting market, FanDuel is clear leader in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the two top online sports betting states in the U.S.
PointsBet: Sports betting app is partnered with Catfish Bend Casino in Burlington and offers its unique PointsBetting system, in which the amount players can win depends on how right or wrong their wagers are. PointsBet app offers a wide range of promotions, including no juice games, price freezes and overtime insurance.
BetRivers: Joined the Iowa sports betting market in 2021 after partnering with Wild Rose casino properties. Company owned by Chicago-based Rush Street Interactive operates online sportsbooks in more than a half-dozen states and is leading operator in neighboring Illinois.
BetMGM: Launched its Iowa sports betting app in January 2021 as partner of Diamond Jo Dubuque. Leading global player continues to aggressively expand digital footprint. Offers full range of promotions and in-game wagering opportunities.
Hard Rock: Well-known music-themed gaming operator owns Sioux City property and offers sports betting apps in New Jersey and Iowa. Promotion offers include parlay boosts and risk-free bets.
Betfred: England-based global sportsbook operator has expanded into Iowa, Colorado, Nevada and Pennsylvania. Iowa partner is Grand Falls Casino in Larchwood. Offers comprehensive betting menu of in-play betting and prop bets.
Elite: Elite sports betting gives Iowa players a local option. It’s owned by Elite Casino Resorts, LLC, which owns three properties in Iowa: Riverside Casino & Golf Resort, Rhythm City Casino and Grand Falls Casino. For now, online sports wagering is available on the Elite website, with a mobile sportsbook app coming soon.
February 2018: State Rep. Jake Highfill files bill to allow in-person and online sports betting in Iowa. Bill fails but sets framework for 2019 legislation.
May 2018: U.S. Supreme Court overturns Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, allowing all states the option to legalize sports betting.
May 2019: Iowa retail and online sports betting bill is signed into law by Gov. Kim Reynolds, a month after approval by state lawmakers.
August 2019: First Iowa retail and online sportsbooks open.
December 2020: State exceeds $100 million in monthly wagers for the first time, the fourth consecutive month Iowa sets record handle for sports wagering.
January 1, 2021: Requirement for in-person sports betting registration expires. Remote registration now permitted from anywhere in the state.
Among the key provisions of Iowa sports betting laws:
Yes. Online sports wagering in Iowa launched in 2019. Bettors have nearly a dozen online sportsbooks to choose from.
Sports bettors must be 21 or older to place a sports bet in Iowa.
No, you can live in any state. But you must be physically inside the state of Iowa when placing a wager. Online sportsbooks use geolocation technology to track your location.
At any of the state’s 19 commercial casinos across the state which offer sportsbooks. Nearly all also offer online sports wagering.
All pro and major college sports, including games involving Division I Iowa-based teams. A wide range of international sports, including the Olympics (team events only). A complete list of approved sports is available on the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission (IRGC) website.
Player proposition bets in games involving in-state college teams are prohibited. No wagering on esports.
Any entity licensed to operate other forms of gambling at Iowa casinos can apply for a sports betting license. Casinos pay a $45,000 sports betting licensing fee.
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission regulates sports betting in Iowa.
Yes. In-play wagering, which allows players to make bets during a game, is available on Iowa online platforms. Odds are adjusted in real time as the game progresses.
Bonus offers for new customers include a free first bet and deposit match. Existing customers can take advantage of daily promotions such as odds boosts, parlay insurance and free contest play.
Yes. Signing up at multiple sports sites can be beneficial because it allows bettors to compare odds and claim multiple bonus offers.
Online players have multiple options to deposit funds into their account, including credit/debit card, PayPal e-wallet account, Play+, prepaid cards, online bank transfer, cash at a PayNearMe location, or cash at the casino cage which is partnered with your online operator.
Several support groups are available, including the Iowa Gambling Treatment Program (www.idph.iowa.gov/igtp) and Gamblers Anonymous (www.gamblersanonymous.org). Sports bettors can also self-exclude from wagering by filling out a form with the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission.
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