Legal sports betting at Iowa retail and online sportsbooks is now live, thanks to a 2018 Supreme Court ruling overturning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), a decades old federal law that had banned full-fledged sports wagering outside Nevada. Sports betting was fully legalized in Iowa in April 2019, when Governer Kim Reynolds signed bill SF 617 into law.
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Iowa Sportsbooks IA Retail and Online Sportsbooks
All but one of the state’s 19 casinos currently offer sports betting. Those sportsbooks are managed by six different operators. Mobile sports betting is available, but there is currently an in-person registration requirement, meaning patrons must physically appear at a sportsbook to fill out paperwork to register for an account with that casino’s online sportsbook brand.
That provision will sunset in Jan. 2021, at which time bettors will be able to register remotely, i.e. online, at any legal sportsbook in the state.
List of Iowa sportsbooks
|Casino||Online Partner(s)||Retail Launch||Online/Mobile Launch|
|Isle Bettendorf||William Hill||Aug. 15, 2019||Aug. 15, 2019|
|Isle Waterloo||William Hill||Aug. 15, 2019||Aug. 15, 2019|
|Lakeside||William Hill||Aug. 15, 2019||Aug. 15, 2019|
|Prairie Meadows||William Hill||Aug. 15, 2019||Aug. 15, 2019|
|Grand Falls||Elite Sportsbook||Aug. 15, 2019||Aug. 27, 2019|
|Rhythm City||Elite Sportsbook||Aug. 15, 2019||Aug. 27, 2019|
|Riverside||Elite Sportsbook||Aug. 15, 2019||Aug. 27, 2019|
|Q Casino||Q Sportsbook||Aug. 27, 2019||Nov. 12, 2019|
|Catfish Bend||PointsBet||Aug. 15, 2019||Nov. 26, 2019|
|Hard Rock Sioux City||Hard Rock Sportsbook||Sep. 20, 2019||Dec. 16, 2019|
|Wild Rose: Clinton||DraftKings||Oct. 3, 2019||Feb. 19, 2020|
|Wild Rose: Jefferson||DraftKings||Oct. 3, 2019||Feb. 19, 2020|
|Wild Rose: Emmetsburg||DraftKings||Oct. 3, 2019||Feb. 19, 2020|
|Ameristar||Penn National / Kambi||Aug. 15, 2019||Mid-2020|
|Harrah's Council Bluff||Caesars / Unibet||Aug. 23, 2019||TBD|
|Horseshoe Casino||Caesars / Unibet||Aug. 23, 2019||TBD|
|Diamond Jo||FanDuel||Aug. 29, 2019||TBD|
|Diamond Jo - Worth||FanDuel||Aug. 29, 2019||TBD|
|Casino Queen Marquette||TBD||TBD||TBD|
Frequently Asked Questions Iowa Sportsbook Questions Answered
William Hill also has a dominant market share in mobile sports betting through its partnerships with Prairie Meadows, Lakeside Casino, and Isle Casino properties at Bettendorf and Worth.
Note that once you have registered, it is possible to view an account, view game lines, and make deposits from outside of the state, but to actually play, you will need to be inside Iowa.
Iowa Sports Betting Legislation Breaking Down The Bill
What’s in the bill
Here are the main points of the law broken down:
- Who can play: Anyone 21 years or older who is physically located in Iowa.
- Betting locations: Currently 19 casinos throughout the state have sportsbook lounges and offer mobile and internet sportsbooks. Until Jan. 1, 2021, bettors must register in-person for an online account.
- Who will regulate: Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.
- Operator tax rate: 6.75%
- Annual licensing fee: $45,000 initial fee, $10,000 annual renewal fee.
- Where the taxes go: Sports Wagering Receipts Fund to be disbursed by the General Assembly.
Why is this legislation advantageous for players?
In a general sense, sports betting in Iowa is an operator-friendly market thanks to its low tax rate and low annual renewal fee for sports betting licenses. The latter is relevant since all 19 casinos successfully applied for a license after sports betting was legalized.
The low tax rate and renewal fee help sportsbook operators offer competitive betting prices, which allows bettors to feel confident placing wagers that offer a maximum return on winning bets. Additionally, the multiple sportsbook operators throughout Iowa — both retail and online — create a robust sports betting market in terms of competition.
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has shown an ability to react quickly to market requests, evidenced by its full and varied offerings. All major U.S. professional sports are available for wagers, as are popular international sports, most notably European soccer and rugby.
Additionally, there are certain “impermissible” bets that, while minor, are of interest to bettors. Those include what the IRGC labels as “trophy bets,” which include the Heisman Trophy and other professional postseason player awards.
A negative is the in-person registration for mobile sports betting, but that downside is limited because that provision will eventually sunset in January 2021. Remote registration will then be available to help grow a sports betting market that has shown a quick maturation process since going live in August 2019.
Iowa sports betting history
Iowa began accepting sports wagers in August 2019, which was the culmination of an impressive six-month sprint that included legislators, state regulators, and the 19 casinos throughout the Hawkeye State. It was quickly established that there was an appetite for legal sports betting in Iowa following the Supreme Court’s May 2018 decision to strike down PASPA, the federal ban on full-fledged wagering outside Nevada.
The primary lawmakers responsible for pushing sports betting legislation were state Senator Roby Smith and state Representative Bobby Kaufmann. Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission Administrator Brian Ohorilko also played a pivotal role, as did Iowa Gaming Association President and CEO Wes Ehrecke, who was able to bring together all casino stakeholders for the common cause.
After PASPA was struck down, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC), which oversees legal sports betting, reached out to states that had previously legalized sports betting for information to help it draft a framework for regulations.
How the sports betting sausage got made
As that information-gathering process took place, state legislators did likewise for bill-making purposes. Smith sponsored SF617, which was introduced in the Ways and Means Committee on April 8. Nine days later, he introduced two amendments that were approved by voice vote before the bill was approved by a 31-18 margin.
House Study Bill 198 (HSB198) was introduced in February 2019 by Kaufmann, and the Committee on State Government recommended the amendment and its passage in short order. The bill received bipartisan support in Iowa’s General Assembly, where it passed by a 67-31 margin on April 23.
The bills were later synced as part of SF617 and presented to Governor Kim Reynolds, who signed sports betting and daily fantasy sports betting into law May 13. The first sports bet was placed Aug. 15, with mobile betting available after in-person registration upon launch.
Full speed ahead
Another key component in Iowa’s swift movement to legalize and launch sports betting was the positive working relationship established between the IRGC and the Iowa Gaming Association (IGA). The comprehensive bill signed into law gave the IRGC a clear blueprint with rules and authorization. Ahead of the launch, the IRGC established a piecemeal approach with regards to processes and controls, offering them in sets of three every two weeks.
All told, there were six different sessions as IRGC staff members worked in conjunction with applicants to focus on each release. For operators that had launched in different states before adding Iowa to their respective holdings, the learning curve was also shortened as the state commission permitted a degree of flexibility to incorporate an operator’s best practices.
That cooperative spirit was also evident in Iowa’s relatively quick ability to offer mobile sports betting on a wide scale. Upon launch in August 2019, seven casinos offered mobile/internet sports betting, and that nearly doubled in the first seven months to 13, according to the February 2020 sports betting revenue report released by the IRGC.