Iowa has a long-standing history of gambling. It was the very first state to regulate riverboat casinos, launching its first floating gambling facilities in 1991. Today, the Hawkeye State is home to 19 state-regulated casinos and operates one of the most successful sports betting markets in the US.
Both retail and online sports betting became legal in Iowa on May 13, 2019, when Governor Kim Reynolds signed SF 617 into law (364 days after the Supreme Court ruled to overturn PASPA.) Though this legislation was a year in the making, it took the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) less than three months to ready the regulated market for launch on August 15, 2019.
Iowa’s sports betting market has continued to thrive since taking its first sports wagers. In January 2022, it became the 10th state to surpass the $3 billion mark in total handle and boasts a full suite of top US online sportsbooks for Iowa bettors to choose from.
|Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission
|August 15, 2019
Each of Iowa’s 19 state-regulated casinos can apply for a sports betting license from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC.) This license allows the casino to open one retail sportsbook on its premises and partner with up to two online sportsbook operators.
18 of Iowa’s casinos have seized the opportunity and partnered with some of the best sportsbooks in the US, such as Caesars, BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, Barstool, and BetRivers. Several sportsbooks also hold more than one casino partnership, including DraftKings and Caesars. In addition to US brands, bettors can access international sportsbooks like Betfred and Unibet and the Iowa-exclusive DRF Sportsbook.
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|Elite Casino Resorts
|August 27, 2019
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|PointsBet Holdings Limited
|November 26, 2019
|Hard Rock Sportsbook
|Hard Rock International
|December 16, 2019
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|MGM Resorts International
|January 4, 2021
|Rush Street Interactive, Inc.
|January 4, 2021
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|Sports Information Group
|January 25, 2022
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TheScore Bet and Fubo Sportsbook were previously available in Iowa, though both have since exited the market. In addition, Unibet has announced it will soon pull its sportsbook out of the Hawkeye State. However, with access to almost all of the most notable online sportsbooks in the US, Iowa bettors will barely notice their absence.
DraftKings is one of ten operators in Iowa to offer both retail and online sports betting. Initially launching in 2012, the gambling operator first rose to fame with its groundbreaking DFS (Daily Fantasy Sports) platform. The brand has since expanded to offer sports betting and now has a significant presence in 17 states, including Iowa.
Despite opening the doors to its three Wild Rose Casino sportsbooks on October 3, 2019, the DFS lynchpin didn’t launch online until February 19, 2020. Whether you prefer to wager in person or online, Hawkeye State bettors can wager on their favorite sports teams and markets with DraftKings Sportsbook.
BetMGM made its Iowa debut on January 4, 2021, making the Hawkeye State the eighth to launch the sportsbook. The betting brand obtained its Iowa license by partnering with the Boyd Gaming-owned casino chain Diamond Jo.
BetMGM is the online betting arm of the luxury hospitality chain MGM Resorts International. The sportsbook’s other parent company is GVC Holding (Entain), the renowned international sports wagering brand. With backing from two of the biggest names in the online gambling industry, it comes as no surprise that BetMGM Sportsbooks is one of the leading operators to enter the regulated Iowa sports betting market.
Iowa sports bettors can also take advantage of BetMGM Rewards while gambling both online and in person. Every wager you place can earn you points, which you can then exchange for real-life rewards, including complimentary food and drink, hotel stays, and much more.
Like BetMGM, FanDuel is able to operate online in Iowa through its partnership with the Diamond Jo retail casino chain. However, FanDuel takes things one step further, offering retail sports betting in both Diamond Jo brick-and-mortar destinations (Worth and Dubuque.)
FanDuel first opened its virtual doors in 2009 as a DFS brand. Yet, in the wake of the PASPA abolishment, a merger with Flutter Entertainment (formerly Paddy Power Betfair) in 2018 enabled the brand to launch its sports betting operations. Since then, the brand has grown to become one of the US’ leading betting brands and is now live in 17 states. FanDuel’s mobile and online sportsbook went live in Iowa in October 2020.
For many US bettors, the Caesars name is synonymous with luxurious casino gambling. But aside from its legendary hotel and casino brands, the operator has also branched out into the sports betting market with its very own Caesars Sportsbook. After acquiring the successful sports betting company William Hill in April 2021, Caesars has expanded to offer its services in more US states than most other leading gambling brands. Currently, this number is 18 and includes Iowa.
William Hill-powered Caesars betting site and app were first out of the gate when Iowa launched its sports betting market, it was since then branded to Caesars Sportsbook. Caesars offers both retail and online sports betting and opened all five of its brick-and-mortar sportsbooks alongside its online platform on August 15, 2019. With locations in Bettendorf, Waterloo, Council Bluffs, and Altoona, Caesars is the most widely-accessible retail sportsbook in Iowa.
Hawkeye State users can enjoy generous promotions, competitive odds, and, of course, the exclusive Caesars Rewards program. Collect points with every wager you place and exchange these for lucrative real-life prizes.
The popular Australian sports betting provider, Pointsbet, provides a completely unique style of sports spread betting. Originally launching in 2015, the gambling operator has since made its way across the Pacific Ocean and is already competing with the US’ top sportsbook brands.
Thanks to a partnership with Catfish Bend Casino, Pointsbet launched its online betting platform in Iowa on November 26, 2019, becoming the fourth legal sportsbook in the state. The Aussie-based sportsbook is the official partner of the National Hockey League, so hockey fans can use Pointsbet to wager on the state’s very own Iowa Wilds.
With the backing of the renowned Rush Street Interactive, BetRivers has grown into one of the US’ leading sports betting brands since its relatively recent launch in 2019. BetRivers has an extensive online and retail sportsbook offering, operating in-casino sportsbooks at the iconic Pittsburgh Rivers Casino, the historic French Lick Resort in Indiana, and more.
BetRivers landed in Iowa on January 4, 2021. The sportsbook’s parent company, Rush Street Interactive, partnered with Wild Rose Casino to obtain a license from the IRGC. Since Wild Rose already has retail DraftKings sportsbooks in all of its three locations, BetRivers’ license is online only.
Twinspires, the famous online horse racing betting brand, initially launched in 2006 under the operation of Churchill Downs. Yes – that’s the same Churchill Downs where the iconic annual Kentucky Derby takes place in Louisville. So with a history dating back to 1875, it’s clear that Iowa bettors can expect great things from this racing wagering platform.
Regulated by the IRGC, Twinspires is available for both online and mobile betting. Launching in January 2021, fans of horse race wagering in Iowa can place their bets with Twinspires via the dedicated app or the desktop site.
TVG is open for business to Iowa bettors! While it is one of the US’ leading horse racing broadcaster, TVG offers much more than competitive betting odds. Operated by Flutter Entertainment, the renowned gambling holding company, the facebook offers live racing alongside plenty of markets.
A partnership with Prairie Meadows in Altoona and a license from the IRGC means that Hawkeye racing bettors can place bets through the online desktop site or download the compatible TVG horse racing app and wager on the go.
Yes. Iowa’s legal online sports market launched in tandem with its retail market on August 15, 2019. There are currently 18 online sportsbooks in operation, and there is room for a further 20 to launch. As on January 1, 2021, you no longer need to register in person if you want to bet online.
You can wager on a huge variety of sports in Iowa, including both professional and college games, daily fantasy sports, and pari-mutuel wagering. All forms of betting are allowed except in-play and prop bets on individual college athletes. eSports betting is not yet legal, though legislators are making attempts to change this.
Anyone over the age of 21 can wager on sports in Iowa. You don’t need to be a permanent resident of the Hawkeye State, though you must be physically present within state lines. Every online sportsbook uses geolocation technology to verify your location before you can place a bet.
18 of Iowa’s 19 state-regulated casinos have a retail sportsbook. The Casino Queen Marquette is the only casino without. It struck up a partnership with FuboTV to offer online sports betting, which launched in November 2021. However, the operator recently withdrew from the sports betting industry, leaving the riverboat casino with neither an online nor a retail sportsbook.
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission is the regulatory body that issues sports betting licenses to each of the state’s land-based casinos. This license allows a casino to open one retail sportsbook on its premises and partner with up to two online sportsbook operators.
|Ameristar Council Bluffs
|Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort
|Harrah’s Council Bluffs
|Wild Rose: Clinton
|Wild Rose: Jefferson
|Wild Rose: Emmetsburg
|Rhythm City Casino
|Diamond Jo Casino - Dubuque
|Diamond Jo Casino - Worth
|Hard Rock Sioux City
In addition to the 19 state-regulated casinos, there are four tribal casinos in Iowa. So far, none offer any form of sports betting, though not for lack of trying.
The Prairie Flower Casino has been fighting to open a sportsbook since 2019 but faced strong opposition from the city of Council Bluffs. In November 2022, the tribal casino broke ground on its 600,000-square-foot casino expansion, which will include space for a retail sportsbook. It is not yet known which operator will take up residence in the new facility.
Iowa is one of the highest-performing sports betting states in the US. In January 2021, the total betting handle surpassed $300 billion. Since then, the Hawkeye State has consistently reported a monthly betting handle of over $100 million.
You can find more information on Iowa’s betting revenue here.
From baseball to basketball, there are several minor league teams to bet on in Iowa. Though there are no major league sports teams, Iowa’s neighboring states offer plenty of choices when the NFL season comes around.
The Iowa Wolves are a professional basketball team based in Des Moines. Originally known as Iowa Energy, the team formed in 2007 and compete in the NBA G-League (formerly the NBA Development League.) The Energy was renamed Iowa Wolves when Minnesota Timberwolves bought the team ahead of the 2017 season.
Since 2008, eight Wolves players have been called up to play in various NBA teams, including the New York Knicks, Golden State Warriors, and Utah Jazz. They won a single championship in 2011, and four divisional championships.
The Wolves had one of the biggest fanbases in the D-League, setting the attendance record on its first home game in 2007, before breaking its own record in game two of the 2011 D-League Finals with a crowd of 14,036. The Wolves play home games at the Wells Fargo Arena.
The Iowa Wild is Iowa’s professional hockey team, affiliated with the Minnesota Wild. Beginning their career in 1994 as the Houston Aeros, the Aeros were a member of the International League from 1994-2013.
During its time in Houston, the Aeros won the International League in 1999 and had future Minnesota Wild captain Jared Spurgeon, vice-captain Matt Dumba, and defencemen Jonas Brodin on its roster.
The Aeros joined the American Hockey League in 2001 and relocated to Des Moines in 2013.
Upon relocation, the team was renamed after its NHL affiliate. Iowa Wild plays its games at the Wells Fargo Arena and competes in the Western Conference of the AHL.
While they failed to make the Calder Cup playoffs in their first five seasons in Iowa, the Wild reached the second round of the playoffs in 2019. Iowa was second in its division before the cancelling of the 2020 season due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Established in 1879, the Quad Cities River Bandits are Iowa’s longest-running minor league baseball team. The Bandits compete in the Midwest League and have done since 1960. The team is affiliated with Kansas City Royals, having previously been affiliated a number of teams; Houston Astros, St Louis Cardinals, Minnesota Twins, and even the Brooklyn Dodgers prior to its move to Los Angeles.
Today, the team home games at Modern Woodman Park, on the banks of the Mississippi River. For Sunday games, the team plays games in Sullivan Island to avoid Sunday activity laws.
In their 14-decade career, the Bandits have won twelve league titles. Most recently, the Bandits took home their first division title win in 2021. In addition to the Bandits, Iowa has two other minor-league baseball teams: the Iowa Cubs and the Cedar Rapids Kernels.
Spanning 22 varsity sports, the Iowa Hawkeyes are the athletic teams of the University of Iowa. Unlike other states, the Hawkeyes’ most successful franchise isn’t its football team but its wrestling team.
Since their initial face-off against Nebraska in 1910, the wrestling team has won 24 national championships and 37 Big Ten championships. In 2021, the university announced that it would introduce a women’s wrestling team in the 2023-24 season.
Its football program is a member of the West Division of the Big Ten Conference in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). Despite never being ranked No. 1 in either the AP or Coaches Poll, the Buckeyes have claimed five national championships, in 1921, 1922, 1956, 1958, and 1960.
With no professional football team in Iowa, one of the most popular NFL teams in the state is Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings are a member of the NFL’s NFC North (National Football Conference North Division), first joining the league in 1961 as an expansion franchise.
Despite having never won a Super Bowl, the Vikings are regularly a contender and have the most conference championship appearances of a non-Super Bowl-winning team, and have appeared in an NFC championship game every decade since the 1970s.
The Vikings have won a single NFL championship, pre-merger in 1969, and three additional NFC championships in the Super Bowl era. They have won twenty divisional titles and appeared in the playoffs thirty times. Minnesota plays its home games at U.S Bank Stadium, which opened in 2016.
Another popular NFL team followed in Iowa is the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs were a charter member of the American Football League (AFL), founded by businessman Lamar Hunt as Dallas Texans in 1959. The Texans played its inaugural season in 1960, but after winning the 1962 AFL championship, they relocated to Kansas City.
One of the dominant franchises in the AFL pre-merger, the Chiefs would win two further AFL championships in 1966 and 1969. In 1969 would become the second AFL team to win the Super Bowl when they defeated Minnesota Vikings.
Recently, the team has been incredibly successful under the stewardship of Andy Reid and with Patrick Mahomes as QB, with Kansas City winning its first championship since 1969 at Super Bowl LIV in 2020. The Chiefs made it to Super Bowl LV a year later but lost to Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The team plays its home games at Arrowhead Stadium.
Alongside wagering on their favorite minor league sports teams, Iowa residents can get involved in the action on a more local scale with a range of college sports and state-wide events.
With the consistent success of the Iowa Hawkeyes wrestling team, it’s no wonder that the Iowa/Iowa State wrestling match is the most popular varsity event in the Hawkeye State. Every year since 1912, the Iowa Hawkeyes have taken on the Iowa State Cyclones in an epic inter-state college rivalry. Iowa boasts a 68-16 win over Iowa State, clinching the 2022 title on December 4, 2022, and maintaining their 18-consecutive win streak.
Iowa is one of 30 states that competes in the biennial State Games. Though the competition is styled after the Olympic Games (complete with Opening Ceremonies and a torch-lighting procession), it doesn’t limit itself to the same sports. Iowa residents of any age can participate in sports such as spikeball, Zumba, yoga, pickleball, and horseshoes. The top three medalists in every sport go on to compete in the nationwide State Games of America.
Under licensing laws, every sportsbook in Iowa is required to offer a range of responsible gambling tools to help bettors control their gambling habits. These tools include account restrictions (such as deposit, loss, and wager limits), reality checks, session limits, and voluntary self-exclusion.
If you sense your gambling becoming a problem, you can ban yourself from creating an account at any online sportsbook or retail casino in Iowa by enrolling in the voluntary self-exclusion program. To do so, you’ll need to fill in and submit a form, which can be done via mail or email.
In addition to the tools listed above, many sportsbooks offer links to addiction support organizations. You can find these links and other local resources on the Responsible Gambling page.
Yes, sports betting is legal in Iowa. Both retail and online sports betting were legalized in May 2019, and Iowa sportsbooks began taking their first legal bets on August 15, 2019. 18 of Iowa’s 19 state-regulated casinos have partnered with top US sportsbooks to offer an extensive range of professional and college sports betting markets.
New bettors can claim a generous welcome bonus at almost every online sportsbook. In order to claim your prize, you’ll need to register an account and make a deposit. Some of the top sportsbooks offering fantastic sports betting bonuses include Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel, Barstool, and BetRivers.
Betting on college sports is legal in Iowa. Without any professional sports teams to wager on, college games are Iowa’s most popular betting markets. Bettors can wager on in-state games, make futures bets, and place prop bets on college teams. However, in-play and prop betting on individual athletes is not legal.
Yes, daily fantasy sports are live and legal in Iowa. When the sports betting bill SF 617 became law in 2019, it included legislation to allow betting on daily fantasy sports. Now, bettors across Iowa can legally wager on DFS sites like FanDuel and DraftKings. Both sites have a compatible mobile app available for download.
There are currently 18 legal betting sites in Iowa. Each of Iowa’s 19 state-regulated casinos can partner with two online sportsbooks, so there can be up to 38 online sportsbooks operating at one time. Iowa bettors can wager at some of the top sportsbooks in the US, including BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings, PointsBet, FanDuel, and Barstool. ClutchBet and SuperBook Sports are two of Iowa’s newest online sportsbooks.
Absolutely! Caesars Sportsbook is available for in-person betting at five different casinos across Iowa, with facilities in Council Bluffs, Altoona, Waterloo, and Bettendorf. In addition, the sportsbook has been taking online wagers since August 15, 2019. You can bet on a range of sports markets through the online site or download the compatible Caesars Sportsbook mobile app.
Of course. DraftKings is one of two daily fantasy sports sites available to Iowa bettors, and you can use DraftKings’ online sportsbook or mobile app to wager on your favorite sports teams. If you prefer to wager in person, you can do so at any of the Wild Rose casino resorts in Clinton, Emmetsburg, and Jefferson.
Both of Iowa’s Diamond Jo casinos (Worth and Dubuque) house a retail FanDuel sportsbook. Thanks to its partnership with Boyd Gaming, FanDuel’s online sportsbook is also available to bettors in Iowa. When you wager online, you can access FanDuel’s award-winning DFS betting platform as well as the sportsbook.
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) regulates all gambling and sports betting in the Hawkeye State. The Racing Commission was established in 1983 to regulate pari-mutuel horse wagering and became the Racing and Gambling Commission in 2004 to regulate the state’s riverboat casinos. Since August 2019, the IRGC has also regulated all of Iowa’s sports betting activity.
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