Named after the Native American Ioway tribe, the midwestern US state of Iowa is a land of rolling plains and cornfields. History has shown Iowa to be one of the more progressive states in the US- in 1851 married women were granted property rights and in 1869 the states Supreme Court ruled that women should be able to study law. In 2009, Iowa’s Supreme Court declared that it was unconstitutional to forbid same-sex marriage. Iowa was also the first state to open a legal riverboat casino in 1991. Could Iowa be the next US state to legalize sports betting?

Is it legal to bet on sports in Iowa?

In Iowa, residents and visitors can place pari-mutuel wagers both at racetracks in the state and at designated venues that offer interstate, simulcast betting. Other forms of sports betting are currently illegal in the state.

In 2018, lawmakers in the state introduced HB 2448 in February. Although the bill was introduced prior to the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), its introduction came too late and the legislative session had ended without a vote on the bill.

Now in 2019, lawmakers in the state have introduced seven sports betting study bills, each of the which look at the implementation of sports betting in Iowa. HB 102 and SB 1081 also

contain provisions that cover daily fantasy sports contests.

Out of these bills, SB 1080 and SB 1081 are the most comprehensive. Both of these bills would authorize statewide mobile sports betting on professional and collegiate sporting events. Both of the bills also propose that sports betting should be overseen and regulated by the state’s Racing and Gaming Commission. However, these two bills differ in some key areas.

SB 1080 would require bettors to register mobile sports betting accounts in person at a licensed facility until 2021 and sets a tax rate of 6.75%. On the other hand, SB 1081 favors professional sports leagues. The bill would allocate a 0.25% royalty to be paid to the leagues and grants the professional sports leagues the power to restrict or exclude certain types of wagers. This bill also contains language that suggests it could authorize standalone sportsbook venues to operate in the state.

Where will I be able to place bets on sporting events in Iowa?

If the state of Iowa chooses to legalize full-scale sports betting, betting could take place in the state’s 19 casinos and racetracks. There are also two pieces of legislation that would permit mobile sports betting to be carried out across the state.

What sports will I be able to bet on?

The legislation that is being considered at the moment would authorize betting on professional and collegiate sporting events.

What else can I bet on in Iowa

Until sports betting in Iowa is legal, residents and visitors can enjoy a variety of gambling activities. As previously mentioned, residents can wager on horse racing at venues across the state and can also bet on horse racing online via platforms like Twinspires.com, BetAmerica and TVG.  There is also a state-run lottery in place in Iowa where residents can also play in interstate draws and games. On top of this, there is a variety of tribal and commercial casinos in the state that offer Vegas-style casino gambling. Casinos in Iowa offer a variety of gambling options such as:

  •    Slots
  •    Poker
  •    Bingo
  •    Craps
  •    Roulette
  •    Mississippi stud

Casino Name Type of venue Location Contact Email Opening Hours
Ameristar Casino Hotel Commercial 2200 River Rd, Council Bluffs, IA 51501, USA +1 712-328-8888 Online form 24 hours
Blackbird Bend Casino Tribal 17214 210th St, Onawa, IA 51040, USA +1 712-423-9646 contact@blackbirdbendcasinos.com Sunday – Wednesday: 8am – 2am
Thursday: 8am – 12amFriday – Saturday: 24 hours
Casino Queen Marquette Commercial 100 Anti Monopoly, Marquette, IA 52158, USA +1 563-873-3531 Online form Sunday – Wednesday: 9am – 2am
Thursday: 9am to 12amFriday – Saturday: 24 hours
Catfish Bend Casino Commercial 3001 Winegard Dr, Burlington,IA 52601, USA +1 319-753-2946 info@thepzazz.com Monday – Wednesday: 8am – 3am
Thursday: 8am – 12amFriday – Sunday: 24 hours
Diamond Jo Casino Dubuque Commercial 301 Bell St, Dubuque, IA 52001, USA +1 563 -690-4800 Online form 24 hours
Diamond Jo Casino Northwood Commercial 777 Diamond Jo Lane, Northwood, IA 50459, USA +1 641-323-7777 Online form 24 hours
Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort Commercial 1415 Grand Falls Blvd, Larchwood, IA 51241, USA +1 712-777-7777 Online form 24 hours
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City Commercial 111 3rd St, Sioux City, IA 51101, USA +1 712-226-7600 info@hardrockcasinosiouxcity.com 24 hours
Harrah’s Council Bluffs Hotel & Casino Commercial 1 Harrah’s Blvd, Council Bluffs, IA 51501, USA +1 712-329-6000 Not available 24 hours
Horseshoe Council Bluffs Commercial 2701 23rd Ave, Council Bluffs, IA 51501, USA +1 712- 323-2500 Not available 24 hours
Isle Casino Hotel Bettendorf Commercial 1777 Isle Pkwy, Bettendorf, IA 52722, USA +1 800-843-4753 Not available 24 hours
Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo Commercial 777 Isle of Capri Blvd, Waterloo, IA 50701, USA +1 800-843-4753 Not available 24 hours
Lakeside Casino Commercial 777 Casino Drive, Osceola, IA 50213, USA +1 641-342-9511 Online form 24 hours
Meskwaki Bingo & Casino Tribal 1504 305th St, Tama, IA 52339, USA +1 800-728-4263 info@meskwaki.com 24 hours
Prairie Meadows Commercial 1 Prairie Meadows Dr, Altoona, IA 50009, USA +1 515-967-1000 Online form 24 hours
Q Casino Commercial 1855 Greyhound Park Rd, Dubuque, IA 52001, USA +1 563-582-3647 Not available 24 hours
Rhythm City Casino Commercial 7077 Elmore Avenue, Davenport, IA 52807, USA +1 563-328-8000 Online form 24 hours
Riverside Casino & Golf Resort Commercial 3184 IA-22, Riverside, IA 52327, USA +1 319-648-1234 Online form 24 hours
Wild Rose Casino & Resort Emmetsburg Commercial 777 Main St, Emmetsburg, IA 50536, USA +1 712-852-3400 Online form Monday – Wednesday: 8am – 2am
Thursday: 8am – 12amFriday – Sunday 24 hours
Wild Rose Casino & Resort Clinton Commercial 777 Wild Rose Drive
Clinton, IA 52732
+1 563-243-9000 Online form Monday – Wednesday: 8am – 2am
Thursday: 8am – 12amFriday – Sunday 24 hours
Wild Rose Casino Jefferson Commercial 777 Wild Rose Drive
Jefferson, IA 50129
+1 515-386-7777 Online form Monday – Wednesday: 8am – 2am
Thursday: 8am – 12amFriday – Sunday 24 hours
WinnaVegas Casino Resort Tribal 1500 330th St, Sloan, IA 51055, USA +1 712-428-9466 webmaster@winnavegas.biz 24 hours

Although casino gambling, lottery and horse racing is legal, Iowa does not permit online casino gambling or online poker. On the legal front, there is no mention of internet gambling in the state law, suggesting that online casino gambling is illegal. When it comes to online poker an attempt was made to legalize the activity but failed to gain enough support.

Are offshore gambling sites legal in Iowa?

Offshore gambling sites are not regulated or licensed to operate in Iowa and are therefore illegal. Aside from legality, we’d recommend steering clear of offshore gambling and sports betting sites because of the lack of regulation. This means they may not be secure or may not have measures in place to protect vulnerable players. You also have no way of knowing who is handling the money you deposit into these online accounts.

You can spot offshore gambling sites by looking at the website’s domain name. If you see a domain that ends in .EU or .AG, it does not hold a license to operate in Iowa and therefore should be avoided at all costs.

Will it be safe to bet on sports in Iowa?

Iowa already has strict gambling laws in place, meaning that any potential sports betting regulations will have a strong focus on player protection. This will ensure that sports betting in Iowa is safe. However, bettors will have to make sure that they play safely and responsibly. If you are concerned that you or someone you care about may be suffering from problem gambling, the National Council on Problem Gambling has a number of resources available. The Iowa Gambling Treatment Program operates in the state and is responsible for general health and addiction services.

You can contact the National Problem Gambling Helpline via:

Phone: 1-800-522-4700

Text: 1-800-522-4700

Live Chat

You can contact the Iowa Gambling Treatment Program via:

Call: 1-855-581-8111

Text: 1-855-895-8398

Live Chat

Who regulates gambling in Iowa?

There are two bodies that oversee gambling in Iowa. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission was created by the Parimutuel Wagering Act in 1983, and is a five-member commission that’s responsible for overseeing gambling operations in the state. The Iowa Gaming Association is also responsible for ensuring that gambling venues in the state are operating in compliance with the law.

How old do I have to be to gamble in Iowa?

To conduct any form of gambling in Iowa you must be 21 years old. This includes playing the lottery, betting on horses, casino gambling and playing bingo.

The journey to legal and regulated sports betting in Iowa

1983 – Legislators in Iowa signed the Pari-mutuel Wagering Act into law. This made it legal for residents to wager on the outcome of horse and dog racing events in the state of Iowa. This led to the creation of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

1985 – The Iowa Lottery launched.

1989 – On 1 July, lawmakers expanded on the Pari-mutuel Wagering Act, allowing pari-mutuel wagering on simulcast races broadcast by a licensed pari-mutuel facility. This allowed residents to bet on horse and dog racing events that take place in other states.

On the same day legislation was put into place that allowed the Commission to grant casino licenses to riverboat casinos in the state.

1991 – On 1 April, the state of Iowa opened the first riverboat casinos in the country. Three riverboat casinos opened for business, including the Dubuque Casino Belle, the President in Dubuque and the Diamond Lady in Bettendorf. Shortly after these casinos opened, Iowa’s fourth riverboat casino was launched when the Emerald Lady in Burlington opened on 10 May.

1992 – Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), prohibiting sports betting across US states. Four states were made exempt from the law: Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana. These states already had legal sports betting regulations in place.

On 30 April the Winnebago True of Nebraska began operation of the WinnaVegas Casino. this was followed by the launch of the CasinOmaha venue owned by the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska. Later that year, the Sac and Fox Tribe began operation of Meskwaki Bingo and Casino on 31 December. The Iowa Lottery also launched a new PowerBall game.

1994 – Lawmakers in the state expanded on the laws to authorize land-based casino operations. Three land-based casinos opened in Iowa in 1994.

2009 – Iowa Lottery launched the game Mega Millions.

2012 – Lawmakers introduced a bill to authorize online poker. The bill, however, was unsuccessful as it missed the deadline for introduction.

2013 – A second bill is introduced to allow online poker but did not make it to the committee stage.

2018 – On 14 May, the Court reached a decision. In a 7-2 vote it was agreed that one of the clauses in PASPA violated the Tenth Amendment, as it commandeered power from states to regulate their own gambling industries. This paved the way for all US states to decide whether or not to legalize sports betting. In the weeks after the repeal of PASPA a number of US sportsbooks launched across the country.

2019 – A total of seven sports betting study bills were introduced in time for the 2019 legislative

session.

Iowa lawmakers are now exploring how to go about introducing legal and regulated sports betting operations.

It is important to remember that sports betting in Iowa has yet to be legalized and that lawmakers are currently discussing the prospect of legalizing the activity, so make sure to check back with BettingUS for updates on legal sports betting in Iowa.