Iowa is a fantastic state for sports betting fans since it is widely and legally available throughout the state. Compared to other places in the USA, and especially compared to some of the neighboring states, it is easy to place a bet on a wide variety of sports here. With many of the Hawkeye State’s 19 casinos operating a retail sportsbook, and over 15 mobile sports betting apps to choose from, there are plenty of places a local can head for Iowa sports betting.
Iowa Sports Betting
Legal Online Iowa Sports Betting
Online wagering was legalized at the same time as Iowa sports betting launched in retail locations. With the legislation passed in May 2019, many online sportsbook websites began to launch apps in August of that year.
Major players such as DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, and BetMGM offer legal sports betting through their apps. A betting app from any recommended Iowa sportsbook sites can easily be downloaded from the major app stores. While registering for an Iowa sports betting app used to have to be done at a retail location, this restriction has now been lifted.
An Iowa bettor must be aged at least 21 to sign up for legal online sports betting apps, but they can now do so without heading to one of the retail locations first. There are also geofencing restrictions on all Iowa sportsbook websites and betting apps.
Should a customer wish to place a sports bet on their favorite sport at an Iowan sports betting site, they must be within state borders. Since sports betting is regulated on a state-by-state basis in the USA, this is a common requirement found across other states that allow any mobile betting, be it sports or casinos.
Recommended Iowa Online Sportsbook Websites
The online sportsbook and mobile sports betting sites our experts have picked are Listed below.
Because of a relationship with Diamond Jo Dubuque, BetMGM Sportsbook has expanded to Iowa. However, because FanDuel currently runs the retail sportsbook in Iowa, BetMGM’s presence in the state is limited to digital-only.
The BetMGM IA app is just a few sportsbooks that offer live video broadcasts for specific sports, making it a natural choice for those who want to wager on games in real-time. It also provides a wide range of betting markets and isn’t afraid to give unconventional lines and player props to keep things interesting.
BetMGM is a deposit bonus heavy operator, with odds increases and free bets being offered regularly.
Besides retail sportsbooks at three Wild Rose casino sites in Iowa, DraftKings offers mobile betting across the state of Iowa, accessible through applications for iOS and Android devices. DraftKings, as one of the nation’s premier sports betting operators, has the knowledge, resources, and money to deliver a feature-rich and comprehensive sports betting experience to residents of the state of Iowa.
A variety of features are available through the DraftKings IA app, including in-game sports betting for leagues worldwide, live video for specific games, free predictions competitions, and more.
In 2019, PointsBet opened retail, legal sports betting at Catfish Bend Casino, marking the company’s first foray into Iowa. In addition, PointsBet introduced its mobile app in early 2021 to provide bettors with access to the service from anywhere in the state.
If you’re looking for a unique mobile sportsbook in Iowa, go no further than PointsBet, which offers plenty of betting options that reward players based on their accuracy. If, for example, players place a $10 wager per point on the spread, they will get a payout equal to $10 times the number of points by which their preferred team beats the spread.
BetRivers Sportsbook, in cooperation with Wild Rose Entertainment, now offers a statewide Iowa sports betting app as an online-only operator in partnership with Wild Rose Entertainment.
BetRivers is run by Chicago-based Rush Street Gaming, making it one of the state’s few US-owned and operated gaming providers. Many industry honors have been bestowed upon the BetRivers IA app, including the EGR North America Customer Service Operator of the Year award.
The numerous advantages of BetRivers include a diverse selection of betting options, excellent customer service, and a thorough and attractive loyalty program, iRush Rewards, among other things. In addition, profit enhancements are also offered regularly by BetRivers on specific markets.
Caesars Sportsbook Iowa
Except for the fact that it offers a greater maximum return amount than most licensed sportsbooks, the Caesars Iowa bonus is standard among licensed sportsbooks. In brief, if a new customer’s first wager loses, Caesars Sportsbook will credit their account with a free bet of up to $1,100. So a new Caesars client who plays a $100 wager and loses will receive a $100 free bet from Caesars.
This is known as a risk free bet and is a popular promotion of online sports betting sites.
After entering the Iowa sports betting industry early on, FanDuel has grown to conduct legal sports wagering at both Diamond Jo Casino and offer mobile betting services throughout the state. Fans of FanDuel Sportsbook can expect a professional-grade service from start to finish because the company is one of the nation’s top daily fantasy and sports wagering providers.
Bettors may sign up and place sports bets using the FanDuel IA app, which is available for iOS and Android devices and can be downloaded from anywhere inside Iowa. FanDuel’s most significant advantages are its broad market depth across a wide range of sports and the most complete live streaming alternatives available. In addition, FanDuel’s pregame money lines have a low vigorish compared to its competitors, and the company routinely delivers +EV odds increases and promotional bonuses.
Elite Sportsbook is sports betting enterprise situated in Iowa that Elite Casino Resorts run. Even though Elite Sportsbook is a locally owned and operated company that employs more than 1,700 Iowans, it is not the most technologically sophisticated mobile betting provider available.
The Elite Sportsbook app offers a clear sports betting experience in Iowa, with only a few features and mediocre promos. On the other hand, Bettors will find it simple to use and as respectable as anybody else in the business.
Standing offer: This is a 100 percent risk-free bet up to $500, in which bettors receive a free bet equal to the amount of their first bet, but only if the wager is a loss.
Q Casino and Hotel debuted a retail sportsbook in August 2019, followed by the introduction of a mobile application developed in-house. For better or worse, the Q Sportsbook app is one of the most straightforward in Iowa.
Q Sportsbook may appeal to certain bettors because of its straightforward design and no-fuss experience, but it falls short in some crucial aspects. Particularly noteworthy is that there are no welcome bonuses available at Q Sportsbook, and the betting options available for each event are limited.
Fubo Sportsbook Iowa
In September 2021, FuboTV introduced the Fubo Sportsbook app for Iowa bettors, which is now available. Fubo Sportsbook acquired entry to the Iowa market through a partnership with Casino Queen Marquette and the acquisition of an Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission gaming license.
Because of its direct interaction with live, streaming sports, the Fubo Sportsbook IA app performs in a way that no other app can match. Fubo Sportsbook is available to everyone who wants to wager on sports through the app. Still, FuboTV customers may watch live sports on their televisions while also using the app to take advantage of in-play markets synched with the action on the field.
As a result, betting software has been developed that combines the finest of live sports with the ability to gamble real money.
When Betfred Sportsbook opened its doors to Iowa bettors in 2020 through a partnership with Grand Falls Casino, it did so with little brand awareness because it was one of the country’s newest operators. However, as one of the world’s largest privately held sports betting firms, Betfred has vast worldwide expertise.
Consequently, the Betfred app does not suffer from a lack of resources to support a large number of pregame and in-play betting markets.
The Betfred IA app, on the other hand, falls short when it comes to client promos. However, although the Betfred welcome bonus for new clients is excellent (a 100 percent first wager match up to $500), the app offers minor promotions for current customers.
How To Pick An Iowa Sports Betting Site
When choosing the right Iowa sports betting site, there are several considerations to be made. All players should adhere to one of the first is finding online sportsbooks that carry a license from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC). They are the governing and regulatory body within this state, and they are the only ones who can grant operation licenses.
Sports betting in the USA is handled on a state level, not a federal one. Therefore, when looking for sports betting within Iowa, it is vital that bettors look for this IRGC license. Just because another state regulates a sportsbook does not necessarily mean that it can operate within Iowa.
In addition to this, a bettor needs to consider what they want from their sports betting site. Do they want access to bets from a wide range of sports? Are they interested in the most competitive odds? Do they want to take advantage of promotions and other deals that can add a bonus to their bets? There will always be a platform to suit.
Timeline of Sports Betting in Iowa
The first significant event in Iowa sports betting will be the overturn of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). This is the law that restricted sports betting throughout the USA except for four states. In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that the law was unconstitutional and gave the power back to the individual state governments to set up sports betting how they saw fit.
Later in 2018, House Study Bill 592 was introduced in the state government to legalize and regulate sports betting. This bill did not make it into law, but it did pave the way for other discussions. Finally, 2019 saw the introduction of Senate File 617. This would legalize retail sports betting and allow casinos within the Hawkeye State to operate two separate betting sites, covering pro, college, and daily fantasy sports. This bill made its way through the House and Senate and was signed into law by Governor Kim Reynolds in May 2019.
To gain a license from the IRGC, brands must pay an initial fee of $45,000 and an annual renewal fee of $10,000, as laid out in SF 617. They are also taxed at a rate of 6.75% on net receipts.
There was a caveat with bettor registrations in Iowa when brands first launched. As a result, anyone wishing to place a bet through mobile sports betting app would have to head to a retail location to open their account. This requirement has since been lifted.
Iowa Sports Teams
There are no major franchise teams in Iowa, but that does not mean that there is no presence of sports fans. The neighboring states of Illinois, Missouri, and Minnesota all have teams in major franchises like the NFL, NBA, and NHL. Still, with as varied a sports scene, it is possible to find fans of every major team scattered across every state.
A few minor teams here, such as the Iowa Cubs, the Iowa Wild, and the Des Moines Menace. These all have a healthy following, and many of the sports betting sites offer wagers for these games. A state like Iowa provides a great intersection of interest in American sports. People will follow the local minor league teams with as much enthusiasm as they do with the major franchises.
A big part of Iowa sports betting is also dedicated to collegiate sports. There are four NCAA Division I teams here, plus a major football rivalry between the University of Iowa Hawkeyes and the Iowa State University Cyclones. This culminates in an annual competition for the Cy-Hawk Trophy. Betting on college sports is legal in Iowa, so it is not unusual to see competitive odds being offered for major competitions such as these. However, though gambling on collegiate events is legal, Iowans may not place wagers on high school sports, esports, or entertainment-related events.
Retail Sports Betting in Iowa
Those bettors who would instead take advantage of Iowa sports betting opportunities in person can head to one of the 18 commercial casinos that operate a retail sportsbook. The 19th commercial casino, Casino Queen Marquette, does hold a sports betting license but does not have a retail location.
Many of these retail locations are tied to major brands such as Caesars, William Hill, and FanDuel. These retail sportsbooks often form just one part of a broader casino complex that might also offer hotel or resort facilities. These retail brands also offer their mobile platforms. This gives bettors total flexibility, as they can head either to a retail location or bet on their mobile within state borders, all using the same account.
Several tribal casinos within the Hawkeye State, but none of them offer retail sports betting. Therefore, players who wish to bet on sports in a retail location must head to one of the commercial casinos with this service.
However, this does not mean that we will not see sports betting come to the tribal casinos of the Hawkeye State at some point. Since legal sports betting rolled out, they have announced their intentions to offer this service. However, to do so might mean that they would have to renegotiate their compacts. This will result in a lengthy legal process, potentially with support and recommendations from the National Indian Gaming Commission.
Should they be granted the opportunity to offer sports betting, this will only diversify options for Iowa bettors even further. It is even potential for mobile betting to arise if this path is pursued. There are examples of other tribes in the US partnering with major operators to create sports betting opportunities at tribal casinos. This could be something that the tribes of Iowa look to emulate should they sign a new compact that would allow them to offer sports betting.
Daily Fantasy Sports
The rollout of daily fantasy sports across the USA was steady, but Iowa seemed like it was one of the states that were holding out the most when introducing this style of gaming. When the sports betting law was introduced in 2019, the bill-makers specifically included language legalizing daily fantasy contests.
This was a decision celebrated by major daily fantasy sports providers FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook. In addition to setting up sports betting opportunities within this state, they also gained the opportunity to launch their daily fantasy games. DraftKings was the first brand to do so, and they have since been joined in the market by others.
DFS operators must apply for a license from the IRGC to offer these games legally within Iowa. Operators also need to pay a tax of 6.75% on revenue, similar to those running sports betting operations.
Offshore Sports Betting
Some sites offer offshore sports betting opportunities to Iowans, and, naturally, such offers should always be viewed with some caution. In addition, for a site to be legal in a state, it must hold a license from the individual governing bodies of said state.
It is always wiser to head to a licensed and fully-regulated Iowa sports betting site rather than an offshore one. These sites are the ones that carry better protection for players and should be the preferred destinations for bettors.
People’s primary concern when gambling at such a site is that there are no consumer protections in place. However, should you have an issue with an IRGC-regulated site, they can report them to that governing body in your local state.
That said, there is a selection of trusted offshore sports betting sites that we have reviewed and are happy to recommend.
Iowa Horse Racing & Off-Track Betting
Horse racing betting is permitted in Iowa. As with other forms of gambling, it is regulated by the IRGC. As with other forms of sports betting in this state, a bettor must be aged 21 years or older and must be within the state boundaries to place a wager. They can also only do so at a site authorized to offer horse racing betting (ADWs). The only place players can find trackside parimutuel betting is at the state’s racetrack at Prairie Meadows. Customers will also find a retail sportsbook here.
Iowa does currently permit live greyhound racing, one of the last places in the USA to do so, but this is due to come to an end soon. The Iowa Greyhound Park, the location for these races, is expected to close permanently after the 2022 season. This will end the sport in the Hawkeye State, and we can expect bets for it to drop away at the same time.
Final Thoughts / Summary
Sports fans will find a vast array of opportunities for Iowa sports betting. The licenses on offer from the IRGC allow a sportsbook to offer bets covering a wide range of sports worldwide. The restrictions in place, such as being 21+ to place a bet and being located in the state boundaries, are common enough across American sports betting in general, so it is not surprising to see them in play here.
Though there are offshore sites that allegedly claim to offer sports betting to Iowans, these cannot be trusted. Instead, anyone wishing to place a bet on sports betting in Iowa should go to one of the many destinations regulated by the IRGC. Whether they are headed to one of the retail locations scattered around the state or to a mobile destination, they are certainly not short of options. The double introduction of sports betting and daily fantasy sports was also a good move for lawmakers, as it meant that brands offered both in other states could set up operations immediately.
The removal of the in-person registration will undoubtedly help attract many more to sports betting in Iowa. A customer now needs only to download the relevant app, making a registration process that is far more efficient and streamlined compared to the length of time it took to head to a retail sportsbook for sign-up. This, coupled with the plans for the tribal casinos to introduce sports betting, can raise the profile of sports betting within this state.
They might not have any significant franchises, but that does not mean that Iowans are not sports fans. The successful rollout of retail and online sports betting in the Hawkeye state proves this. This is one sports betting market that we can expect to grow even further.