If you are a sports bettor in Iowa, you’re in luck. Iowa is a full-service sports betting state, with both online and retail sports betting active inside the Hawkeye State. There are multiple sportsbook apps and retail sportsbook locations throughout Iowa that are ready and willing to accept your business.
In fact, it’s never been easier to bet on sports in Iowa. Since remote registration is now completely legal, you don’t have to travel anywhere to take part in the fun.
This page provides you with a comprehensive overview of Iowa sports betting laws, where to bet online and how to get started. We have some of the best bonus offers that you can find anywhere. So, read on for the latest on Iowa’s foray into the sports betting world.
Last updated: May 3, 2021
Four Iowa casinos have been fined a total of $80,000 by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission for underage betting on the gaming floor.
Those casinos are Wild Rose Casino and Resort Clinton, Riverside Casino and Golf Resort, Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo, and Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino Altoona.
All four incidents happened between June and October of 2020.
Retail sports betting is pretty straightforward in the Hawkeye State. Almost every Iowa casino has a sportsbook onsite. However, until recently, those who wished to play online had to deal with the frustrating proposition of in-person registration for their accounts. In other words, it was necessary to visit your sportsbook app’s partner casino in Iowa in order to complete your account creation.
Needless to say, this requirement created a hurdle for the online sports betting industry to hit the ground running. The pandemic closures that occurred in 2020 did not help in that regard, either. However, according to the law, Iowans only had to register in-person for the first 18 months of legality. That provision went away at the beginning of 2021, so anyone in Iowa can do whatever they need to do on their mobile devices now.
Iowans are blessed with a plethora of choices for mobile sportsbooks. There are several Iowa betting apps available throughout the state. Now that remote registration is underway, it’s never been easier to sample all the different options active in the Hawkeye State. Here are all the choices you have:
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DraftKings has been live in Iowa since Feb. 2020. The company joined the booming market thanks to a partnership with Wild Rose Casino & Resorts. Just like it has done in other legal states it has entered, DraftKings has become a preferred destination for bettors all across the Hawkeye State.
The online platform is awesome, and you’ll find the same story on the mobile app, which is available for both iOS and Android. You can try it out and get something extra for your troubles by clicking through on our exclusive links to create an account. By doing so, you’ll get $50 in free bets, as well as a first deposit match of 20% up to $1,000.
DraftKings has a wide range of betting markets and all of the wager types you could ask for, all in a slick package that’s easy to use. There’s a lot going on beneath the hood, but the team behind the scenes keeps things humming along nicely. This is one of the top options for online and mobile betting in Iowa for many reasons.
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William Hill has quickly established a big presence in Iowa. The company operates six retail sportsbooks across the state. Users can also play online and via mobile app, available for both iOS and Android, with the official launch on that front coming back in Aug. 2019. William Hill brings a ton of experience to the table, and it shows.
The app is clean and easy to navigate around as a result. It’s devoid of annoying bugs and glitches. In short, the mobile betting environment at William Hill provides a solid user experience. You can complete all tasks with ease while also having the benefits of lots of markets to consider and appealing odds.
As a bonus for our readers, William Hill is offering up a risk free bet of up to $500 with your first deposit. Just click on our links to get set up and enter the promo code LEGALRF when prompted. Deposit options include credit cards and eChecks. If the bet loses, then William Hill will refund your wager amount up to the max offer in site credits.
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FanDuel partnered up with Boyd Gaming to enter Iowa in Sept. 2020. It has been very well-received due to its slick offering, which is available online and via iOS and Android mobile apps. FanDuel has become a top destination for sports bettors in several states by doing a lot of things right.
The app is well-built and simple to use. Placing bets, funding your account, getting help and much more can be completed with ease. Among the top features are same game parlays which allow you to stack multiple wagers from the same contest with ease. FanDuel has also gone above and beyond for our readers with an exclusive offer.
If you click on our links to create an account, you’ll be eligible for a risk free bet of up to $1,000 with your first deposit. After depositing and placing your first bet, you’ll get back the amount of your wager up to $1,000 in site credits if it happens to be a loser. FanDuel is one of the top shops to play at here in Iowa.
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BetMGM has been working towards going live in Iowa for some time, and it all came to fruition in Jan. 2021 thanks to a deal with Diamond Jo Casino. BetMGM is now live in the Hawkeye State and available for both online and iOS and Android mobile users. There’s a lot to like about both platforms, but the app side is slightly more user friendly.
If you like lots of different sports to bet on, then BetMGM has you covered. From the big events down to the niche sports you can’t find anywhere else, it’s all here. You’ll have a wide range of funding options to choose from, including credit cards and PayPal, as well as easy access to customer service as needed.
Our readers can try out BetMGM in risk free fashion. You just need to click through on our exclusive links to create an account and enter the code PLAYBONUS. From there, make a deposit and place a wager. If your first bet its a loser, BetMGM will refund you in site credits up to a maximum of $600.
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UK-based sportsbook operator Betfred is working towards building up its presence in the US. The company launched in Iowa in Sept. 2020 off of a deal with Elite Casino Resorts. Early returns have been quite promising. Betfred is a company with lots of experience behind the scenes, and that translates into a solid offering.
The website is optimized to work on mobile browsers. It’s smooth and functional, so you’ll be able to navigate around without issue and perform all functions with ease. Betfred offers up a wide range of sports to consider, but available bet types are slightly lacking in comparison to some competitors.
Betfred is providing our readers with an exclusive bonus offer: a 100% match on your first bet up to $1,000. Click our links to get set up and enter the code BFS15. After you make your first deposit and place a wager, Betfred will match it up to the max amount upon settlement. It’s a great way to try out this intriguing book with a little something extra for your troubles.
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Australia-based PointsBet entered the US in 2019 with big plans. The company has managed to achieve many of its goals in a short period of time, including a launch in Iowa in Nov. 2019. PointsBet is up and running in the Hawkeye State thanks to a deal with Catfish Bend Casino in Burlington.
The company is focused on the experience for bettors, and it shows. The platforms for online and mobile, which is available on iOS and Android, are solid and let you get down to business quickly. Careful attention is paid to the lines, and the company isn’t shy about dishing out promo offers for new and existing players.
To that end, PointsBet has a fantastic sign up deal for our readers. You can gain access by clicking through on our exclusive links to get set up. If you enter the code BETBONUS, you’ll get a pair of risk free bets worth up to a total of $2,000 on your first deposit. It’s a great offer to try out what could very well become your favorite sportsbook.
Elite Sportsbook: Elite is one of the lesser-known operations to open its doors for play in Iowa. However, don’t let the company’s under-the-radar status throw you off – there are plenty of reasons to give Elite a try. Iowans who want to try a sportsbook app with a more personal touch can register at one of two locations. Elite is taking in new customers at the Riverside Casino and Golf Resort in Riverside and the Rhythm City Casino Resort in Davenport.
Hard Rock: Hard Rock Sioux City entered the sportsbook app fraternity in Iowa rather quietly. For such a well-known brand, the casino has kept a lower profile than one might imagine. However, you can’t go wrong with a company that has sportsbooks in several states these days. Iowans can register at the location in Sioux City in order to get going there.
Q Sportsbook: Q Sportsbook is another one of the smaller operations in Iowa and, indeed, the entire country. Like Elite and Hard Rock, its app functions as an outgrowth of the land-based operation. So, most Iowa residents who would be familiar with Q Casino probably live in and around Dubuque. Since they’ll have to visit the location to register, that’s probably for the best.
Betfred Sportsbook: Based out of the UK, Betfred arrived in Iowa a few months after making its American debut in Colorado. Along with launching its online sportsbook, Betfred also debuted its retail operation at Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort. One drawback, however, is that the mobile platform is not available as an Android or iOS app just yet.
TheScore Bet Sportsbook: TheScore was the first sports betting app to open its doors in Iowa in 2021. The sportsbook app is operating in partnership with Penn National Gaming, which owns the Ameristar Casino in Council Bluffs. The debut is part of a larger push from the Canadian company to become a national brand in the US. The launch was the third in six months, and more are certain to come – its market access deal covers 11 states. Nevertheless, theScore should provide another option for Iowans looking for something different in their sports betting.
Sports betting in Iowa is fairly straightforward at this point. Now that remote registration is acceptable, it’s fairly easy to log onto your favorite IA sports betting app and place a bet. However, there are a couple of quirks about betting in Iowa that you should probably know beforehand.
First of all, it is not necessary that you be a resident of Iowa to play. You must only be physically inside the state at the time and be able to satisfy the app’s location sensors for your device. The only requirements are that you are over the age of 21 and not on the state’s exclusion list.
In terms of betting, most types of bets are completely fine. Both professional and collegiate games are available for wagering. However, there are a few exceptions for what you can bet in Iowa. They are:
However, these exceptions are probably not an issue for most bettors. There are still plenty of options available on every single sportsbook app in the state.
Now that remote registration is underway in Iowa, it’s a snap to get started. If you want to give one of Iowa’s sportsbook apps a try, here’s what to do.
First thing is to download the app to your device by using the following steps:
After the app is installed, go through this procedure to create your account:
After you’ve filled out your information, press the button at the bottom of the page to submit it to the site. You should be all set to go. Some sportsbooks will whisk you to the lobby from there, while others will take you straight to the deposit page. You don’t have to make your first deposit immediately, however, if you do not want to do so.
Any no deposit bonuses will already be available for you to bet. When you run through those or decide that you’re comfortable with the site, go ahead and proceed to the cashier to make a deposit. We’ll run through that process below.
No matter where you choose to bet on sports in the US – Iowa or otherwise – you will be forced to verify your location within the resident state. So, in order to place a wager on an Iowa sports betting app, you have to prove to the site that you are convincingly inside state lines. However, there are plenty of different programs and hacks out there, and you may be wondering if you can just fudge things a bit.
The short answer is that no, you can’t. Geolocation verification technology is quite adept at weeding out those who are not inside the state’s borders. This software uses your device’s GPS and location services to place you accurately at your physical location. If there is even a hint that you may not be in the right place, the site will automatically deny you the ability to place a wager.
Sportsbooks (and other online gambling sites) take geolocation quite seriously because they have much on the line with it. Failure to geofence their sites accurately can result in both fines and sanctions on their licenses. So, don’t expect them to let this stuff slide. Make sure that your feet, body, and device are inside Iowa before you try to bet.
No matter the bonus offer, you need to read the fine print on special promotions. Specifically, you need to examine the playthrough requirement and time limit associated with redeeming the bonus. Most bonuses come as either site credits or free bet vouchers, and you must bet a multiple of the amounts listed before they will convert to withdrawable cash. Make sure that you calculate the time it would take you to satisfy the requirements and that the time is acceptable for your lifestyle before you accept an offer.
There are four broad categories of offers:
Currently, in-game betting, aka in-play betting, is one of the most popular forms of sports betting. Available bets range from who will score next to what the points spread will be at the end of each quarter.
There are two types of in-game betting: updated bets and proposition bets.
If a bettor places a wager on his or her favorite team to win. Now gameplay has gone against him or her, and it looks like the bettor’s wager may lose. With in-game betting, the player can now hedge the bet by placing a wager on the opposition and reduce the chances of losing the entire bet.
Conversely, when it looks like the team is winning, the bettor can double-down on the wager.
Of course, the odds change as the game progresses.
Signing up for a mobile account is easy either online or in-person. In both cases, customers have to prove their identity and that they are 21 years or older.
Players then can deposit funds at the casino cage after they sign up, or via a range of online and third party methods. Typically, these include:
Withdrawals are equally simple; however, not all deposit methods are also withdrawal methods. Typically, a check withdrawal will arrive within a few days.
There are plenty of ways to bet on the games:
Iowa is not home to any major professional sports teams. However, that does not mean that Iowans don’t have their favorites, either in terms of teams or the sports themselves. So, here is a quick rundown on what to expect for betting on different types of sports.
Football gets more wagering across the board than any other sport. The NFL’s Super Bowl is the biggest sports betting day of the year, and much of the country is absolutely rabid about the gridiron game. So, naturally, people inside and outside Iowa want to bet on football.
Iowan team loyalty tends to gravitate towards the nearest them. Generally speaking, Iowa has been a traditional stronghold for teams like the Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, and Green Bay Packers. However, some Iowans, particularly in the southern portion of the state, have been gravitating toward the Kansas City Chiefs of late.
Meanwhile, the college football teams have extremely loyal fanbases in the state of Iowa. In addition to the rabid fandom at Iowa and Iowa State, there are also pockets of diehard Northern Iowa and Drake fans around the state.
Betting on football is probably the most straightforward sport. The copious amount of points means that it’s not difficult for sportsbooks to set the lines, the spread, or any other type of sports bet.
It is important to bear in mind, though, that Iowa does have a few restrictions on betting college games. Specifically, any college team with a member under the age of 18 is automatically ineligible for wagering. You also cannot make any live bets on college games involving in-state college teams, so plan accordingly.
As is the case for football, the lack of a professional team in Iowa means that state residents have to find their sports elsewhere. Since the heady days of Michael Jordan, most Iowa inhabitants are happy to be Chicago Bulls fans.
Basketball games also have plenty of scoring, which is conducive to most types of sports bets. Spread bets, moneyline, totals, and even wacky propositions are all standard fare for sportsbooks and basketball games. Because there are fewer players on the court at a time, it is also easier to track and offer statistics on individual players, too.
However, college basketball and March Madness all fall under the heading of limited sports in Iowa. Should any Iowa college basketball team play a prominent game, there will be no options for live bets here, either.
Iowa is not known for its relationship with hockey. Although the state gets plenty of ice each year, the bastions of the sport tend to be farther north. However, Iowa is home to the Iowa Wild, the minor league affiliate of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, so there is a connection to the league there. In addition, many Iowans still follow the somewhat-close Chicago Blackhawks, if for no other reason than the team’s tremendous recent success.
Betting on the NHL or any other type of hockey game presents its own set of unique options. Most of these center around the low-scoring aspect of NHL games. Unlike football or basketball, it is not uncommon for hockey games to be decided by only one single goal – and sometimes, that goal is the only score in the entire game.
Since you need a sizable margin of victory to offer spread bets, one of the most common types of sports wagers, sportsbooks had to get creative. So, if you want to bet on NHL games in Iowa, you will undoubtedly encounter the puck line. The puck line sets the spread at a standard 1.5 goals, but then varies the payout ratio more dramatically than a typical spread. So, the puck line is probably best understood as a hybrid bet between spread wagering and moneylines.
Iowa sportsbooks have no problem offering the puck line and other bets on NHL games.
Iowa has had an undeniable connection to baseball since 1989. In that year, the smash hit movie Field of Dreams immortalized Iowa as the wellspring of the spirit of baseball. So profound is the movie’s cultural relevance that the MLB has begun scheduling one regular season game at the movie set, which remains a tourist attraction and a functional baseball field to this day.
Whether this connection translates to a particular affinity for baseball among Iowans is a matter for debate. However, the Kansas City Royals and Chicago Cubs certainly garner their share of fans from the Hawkeye State, and Iowa sports bettors have plenty of ways to bet.
Like hockey, however, baseball is not a game of tremendous scoring. So, sportsbooks use the run line to offer a spread-like option for MLB betting. The run line functions identically to the puck line, with a set 1.5-point spread and varying payouts.
Iowa passed SF 617 just over a year after the Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) and paved the way for states to legalize sports betting. The law consists mainly of amendments to the existing gambling statutes. Key features include:
The law allows existing gambling licensees to apply for a sports betting license. Currently, the IRGC licenses 19 state casinos. Here is an incomplete list of the current casinos and their corresponding sports betting partners:
|Ameristar Council Bluffs||Council Bluffs||Penn National/Kambi|
|Casino Queen Marquette||Marquette|
|Catfish Bend Casino||Burlington||PointsBet|
|Diamond Jo Casino||Dubuque||FanDuel|
|Diamond Jo Casino - Worth||Northwood||FanDuel|
|Grand Falls Casino||Larchwood||Betfred|
|Hard Rock Sioux City||Sioux City||Hard Rock|
|Harrah's Council Bluffs||Council Bluffs||Caesars|
|Horseshoe Council Bluffs||Council Bluffs|
|Isle of Capri||Bettendorf||William Hill|
|Isle of Capri||Waterloo||William Hill|
|Lakeside Hotel & Casino||Osceola|
|Prairie Meadows||Altoona||William Hill|
|Rhythm City Casino Resort||Davenport||Elite/bet.works|
|Riverside Casino & Golf Resort||Riverside|
|Wild Rose Casino & Resort||Clinton||DraftKings|
|Wild Rose Casino & Resort||Emmetsburg||DraftKings|
|Wild Rose Casino & Resort||Jefferson||DraftKings|
Iowa offers 19 casinos to its residents and visitors. The largest of those, in terms of square footage and overall revenue, is Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Altoona. Prairie Meadows offers patrons horse racing, 1,900 slot machines, a poker room and 13 varieties of table games, all spread over nearly 90,000 square feet of casino space. Customers can wager on live-action races or simulcast.
Additionally, customers can wager on horse racing via the off-track betting (OTB) locations in Iowa.
Here are the retail sportsbooks located in Iowa. There are no standalone sportsbooks in the state, so each sportsbook is onsite at one of Iowa’s casinos.
Ameristar Council Bluffs is the Iowa property owned and operated by gaming giant Penn National Gaming. The sportsbook features six wagering terminals, ten kiosks, and 50 high-definition televisions for viewing games.
Catfish Bend Casino is an independently-operated casino in Burlington. Its sportsbook deal with PointsBet allows the Australian sports betting company to bring its signature product, Points Betting, to Iowans.
Diamond Jo Casino – Worth is one of two casinos owned and operated in Iowa by Boyd Gaming. FanDuel Sportsbook features five tellers, six video screens, and an entire wall of big-screen televisions for watching the action.
Grand Falls Casino is one of three Iowa properties owned by Elite Casino Resorts. Elite is one of the few gaming companies located exclusively in the Hawkeye State. Its sports betting partner, BetFred, operates the 3,500 square-foot facility in Larchwood.
Horseshoe Council Bluffs is one of four properties owned and operated by gambling titan Caesars Entertainment and one of two located in Council Bluffs. Thanks to Caesars’ merger with Eldorado Resorts, Caesars is largely tapping William Hill to serve as the brand for its sportsbook properties.
Isle Casino Bettendorf is another one of Caesars’ properties in Iowa. So, unsurprisingly, there is a William Hill Sportsbook onsite, with 12 55-inch odds board and 8 65-inch televisions for viewing.
Isle Casino Waterloo is the sister property in Iowa to the Isle in Bettendorf and is also part of the Caesars empire. So, the Waterloo location is one of several William Hill retail sportsbooks in Iowa.
Lakeside Casino is owned and operated by Affinity Gaming, which is a smaller gaming company that owns and operates a few casinos around the country. William Hill, the Starbucks of sports betting in terms of its number of locations, runs the retail sportsbook here, too.
Prairie Meadows is one of the most fascinating and unique casino properties in the entire US. In addition to being the only horse racino in Iowa, it is also one of the very few casinos to be owned by the county in which it resides. The nonprofit which operates the casino contracted with William Hill in 2019 to run the new sportsbook onsite.
The Q Sportsbook is one of the few truly independent sports betting locations in Iowa. The book spreads across 4,200 square feet and features 46 high-definition televisions, a 165-inch video wall, and a bar with 20 beers on tap. Q Casino is also the site of the only greyhound racing track in the state of Iowa
Rhythm City Casino Resort is another one of the properties in the portfolio of Elite Casino Resorts. Unsurprisingly, the sportsbook onsite is branded with the parent company’s name. The Elite Sportsbook resides within the Draft Day Sports Lounge and features a 360-degree television screen and 18 other monitors to watch the game.
Riverside Casino & Golf Resort could well be the crown jewel of the three casinos owned and operated by Elite Casino Resorts. However, its sportsbook onsite is virtually indistinguishable from the one at Rhythm City Casino. It has the exact same name, and the sports bar in which it resides has the same name as the one in Davenport, too. Nevertheless, it’s not a bad place to grab a quick bite and place a quick bet.
The Wild Rose in Clinton is one of three Iowa casinos under the Wild Rose Resorts brand. Needless to say, all three sportsbooks at the Wild Rose locations are branded with the livery of Wild Rose’ strategic partner, DraftKings. The Clinton location features 2 video walls, a 219” television, and a 84” television for viewing events.
The Wild Rose Emmetsburg is the smallest of the three, at least in terms of its number of games offered. Similarly, the DraftKings Sportsbook is probably the most casual location of the three in Iowa. For the most part, it’s a sports bar, but you can definitely place a bet.
The Wild Rose location in Jefferson seems to have made the most concerted effort to promote sports betting across the property. In addition to the standard televisions and display boards in the sportsbook itself, several other monitors are scattered across the property with both types of presentations. The DraftKings Sportsbook in Jefferson spreads across nearly 6,000 square feet, so you should be quite comfortable relaxing there.
Needless to say, Iowa’s history with sports betting is not terribly long. After all, no states beside Nevada could offer much in the way of sports betting without running afoul of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or PASPA.
However, the whole game changed in 2018 with a US Supreme Court decision. As it happens, things were already underway in the Hawkeye State.
The in-person registration requirement sunsets at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve 2020 and allows Iowans and visitors to the state to register entirely online. The disappearance of the requirement corresponds with a 42.7% uptick in activity and nearly $150 million in bets placed in January 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic intensifies and causes a noticeable slowdown in Iowa sports betting. Casinos shut their doors for two-and-a-half months beginning in March, and Iowa’s in-person requirement prevented both sportsbooks and lawmakers to realize any new sources of income during this period. Sports began to restart in Summer 2020, and so did the sportsbooks. Each month from September onward set a new state record for revenue.
The drive to legalize sports betting in Iowa reaches a fever pitch in May. Gov. Kim Reynolds affixes her signature to SF 617 and renders sports betting a legal concept in the state. The new law contains mostly favorable elements for potential sportsbooks to do business in Iowa, including a reasonable licensing fee and tax rate on revenues. However, the law also requires that sports bettors register in person until the end of 2020, which creates an unnecessary drag on the new industry. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission is named the regulator over Iowa sports betting.
Like many states, Iowa attempts to read the writing on the wall regarding the federal ban on sports betting, PASPA. The state of New Jersey had taken its case all the way to the highest court in the land, the US Supreme Court, and early reports from oral arguments indicated the the justices seemed receptive to the state’s case against the government. So, Rep. Jake Highfill proposes a sports betting bill to take effect if PASPA is struck down. The bill does not pass, as the legislative session ends before the PASPA ruling. However, the language of the bill provides a valuable framework for lawmakers to try again in 2019.