Betfred Strengthens Iowa Foothold Toward Online Casino Legalization

Written By Derek Helling on July 6, 2023
iowa welcome road sign next to betfred logo over laptop running online casino

In any business, it pays to know how the wind blows. In terms of online gambling in Iowa, a slight breeze is headed in the direction of legalizing real-money online casino apps.

While it might be some time before that wind is strong enough to affect the status quo in Iowa, online gambling company Betfred has positioned its vane to catch that wind. An expansion of the company’s relationship with an Iowa casino licensee solidifies Betfred’s presence in the state.

Betfred and Elite re-work Iowa online gambling partnership

Elite Resort Casinos operates two of Iowa’s 19 brick-and-mortar casinos. For that reason, it also operated an online sportsbook in the state as well. Betfred was among its quasi-competitors in that segment in Iowa.

In Iowa, casino licensees have the option to partner with multiple online sportsbook brands and/or launch their own. Elite did both, counting Betfred as one of its “sub-licensees” or “skins.” Due to that arrangement, Elite has received a portion of Betfred’s Iowa online gambling revenues.

However, Elite is now firmly behind Betfred in Iowa. Elite has shut down its online sportsbook in the state as of July 5. Betfred is essentially taking over both online and physical sports betting operations for Elite.

That means Elite will re-brand the land-based sportsbooks at both Rhythm City and Riverside casinos as Betfred books.

While that’s the extent of the current relationship, Iowa could open the door to more. Should that happen, Betfred allows Elite to have a chance to compete.

Online casino legalization in Iowa on a hazy horizon

Betfred has an online casino product but does not currently operate it in the United States. It’s uncertain whether Betfred intends to do so in Pennsylvania, one of the seven states that allow real-money online casino play in which Betfred currently offers online sports betting.

Pennsylvania might not be the only such place for much longer.

Iowa’s legislature has kicked the tires on allowing casino licensees to offer online games. To date, conversations in Des Moines on that topic have been very preliminary, though. As of earlier this year, six of the state’s casinos were not yet supportive of that kind of gambling expansion.

Should those six casinos get on board with the other 13 casinos and Iowa legalizes online casino play, that could provide more incentive for Betfred to migrate its online casino product for US jurisdictions. Betfred and Elite are not among the leaders for online sports betting in Iowa but could grab a more significant share of the market for online casino play in the state.

For Elite, this expansion with Betfred allows them to enjoy a potentially bigger share of that market compared to how an Elite-branded online casino might perform. It also allows Elite to focus on its physical casinos.

Until Iowa acts, this partnership focuses on sports betting. The end goal could be creating an elite Betfred online casino experience in Iowa.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including finance, regulation, and technology in the gaming industry. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa and resides in Chicago

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