Online Gambling in Iowa 2020

First sportsbooks go live on August 2019 with sports betting offered at the renovated Ameristar Casino Hotel in Council Bluffs. Pointsbet opened its first reail sportsbook at Catfish Bend Casino.

Yes, Online Sportsbooks, Offline Sportsbooks, Lotteries, Offline Casinos, Horse Racing are legal gambling activities in Iowa. But Online Casinos, Poker Sites are still illegal.

Casinos have been legal in Iowa in one form or another since the early 1980s. Many legal gambling venues are riverboats but there is a range of good land-based casinos in Iowa too. Some of the best are operated and owned by Native American tribes under federal law. Let’s see what to expect from Iowa online gambling laws in 2020.

  • Ameristar Casino Hotel in Council Bluffs 
  • Prairie Meadows, Altoona
  • Lakeside, Osceola
  • Isle Waterloo
  • Isle Bettendorf
  • Rhythm City, Davenport
  • Riverside
  • Catfish Bend, Burlington / Pointsbet Iowa

Iowa Sports Gambling

Online sports gambling is coming to Iowa. An official start is August 15 2019. In late April of 2019, the statehouse passed a bipartisan bill legalizing and regulating online sports betting. As of this writing, the bill is simply waiting for the governor’s signature which is expected in late May. Sportsbooks and online sites could be up and running by 2020.

A number of sports betting bills have been introduced in Iowa since the Supreme Court decision on May 14, 2018 that struck down the federal ban on sports betting (PASPA). States can now legalize betting with legislative approval, and Iowa hopes to be up and running with several betting sites and online sportsbooks in 2020.

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed legislation allowing legal wagering on college and professional sports in Iowa. Sportsbook Fanduel which is currently offering Iowa fantasy sports betting, plans to offer sports betting through its partnership with Boyd Gaming, which is behind Iowa’s Diamond Jo casinos, Diamond Jo Casino.

At the moment online sportsbooks BetAmerica allows Iowa residents over 21+ bet on horse races via its betting site and Fanduel offers daily fantasy sports.

Potential legal online sportsbooks in Iowa are: Fanduel, Prairie Meadows Casino, Meskwaki Bingo Casino, William Hill, PointsBet, BetStars, Unibet Iowa.

Recently proposed legislation in 2019 would all Iowa residents age 21 and over to bet on pro and college football, basketball, hockey, baseball, golf, tennis, soccer, boxing, UFC and other types of sports.

Des Moines Sports Betting

Residents of the largest city in Iowa Des Moines have a lot of sports betting opportunities in which to gamble their money, but only as long as they stay within the somewhat strict state guidelines. If players step outside of these, the penalties can be very large.

Iowa gamblers can enjoy riverboat, land-based and tribal casinos. Sports betting in Des Moines involves horse racing, where pari-mutuel betting allowed, either at racetracks or designated places where inter-State simulcast betting. There are 3 racetracks, each of which has a large number of slots and also casino table games

State licensing of casinos in Des Moines has been very democratic. Laws were passed in 1991 which allowed individual counties to vote on whether or not they wanted to have casinos on their land. During the 20 years that followed, 18 such casinos have been licensed, as well as opulent casinos on tribal lands, and also riverboat casinos.

The main laws in Iowa don’t allow much wiggle room for arguing that different forms of gambling aren’t included. Des Moines sports betting legislation designates the offense is the bet itself, and it doesn’t matter which game or what is being bet. Here is the key excerpt:

“1. Except as permitted in chapters 99B and 99D, a person shall not do any of the following: a. Participate in a game for any sum of money or other property of any value. B. Make any bet. C. For a fee, directly or indirectly, give or accept anything of value to be wagered or to be transmitted or delivered for a wager to be placed within or without the state of Iowa. D. For a fee, deliver anything of value which has been received outside the enclosure of a racetrack licensed under chapter 99D to be placed as wagers in the pari-mutuel pool or other authorized systems of wagering. “ (From: 725.7).”

Section 725.7 Big news came in 2019, when the State Legislature introduced 8 bills to legalize sports betting: H 101, H 102, H 103, H 124, H 198, S 1079, S 1080, S 1081, S 1100, and S 1168. S. 1168 passed the Senate and H 198 has passed out of the subcommittee and is now before the House State Government committee. However, there’s been mixed reactions to this news in the Hawkeye state.

Iowa Casinos

The casino industry in Iowa has been steadily expanding since the early nineties. There are now over 20 casinos available throughout the state. More expansion is expected as online casino gambling is making serious headway in the statehouse.

Iowa casinos go back some time now and the first of them began to crop up in the early nineties. They’ve been adding more and more ever since and there are now over 20 casinos throughout the state. What began as a few riverboats have now grown into a wide variety of strong casino offerings, from the Tribal Casino to the new and improved land-based facilities.

Iowa looks to be moving on other fronts as well with legislation in the works for online gambling as well as legal sports gambling. Time will tell when and if these issues progress further but, for now, the state has plenty of casinos to keep Iowans busy.

Blackbird Bend Casino

Since 1991, the Blackbird has been owned and operated by the Omaha tribe of Iowa. In that time, it has undergone a few remodels and renamings but has consistently been raising its game and expanding. Now, the gaming floor sits at over 10,000 square feet and is complete with over 400 slots and all the table games players love such as blackjack, Hold’em, craps, and roulette. Just a short drive from Sioux City as well as Omaha, Nebraska, the Blackbird also has a very popular poker room and bingo as well.

Isle of Capri Bettendorf

Just across the Illinois border in Iowa and one of the four Quad Cities is Bettendorf and the Isle of Capri. This casino is among one of the top-rated destinations in the state as well as the midwest. Not only do they have over 1000 slot machines, video poker, and all every popular table game, they also have a hotel, fine dining options and a marina. The Isle is very active in building their clientele as they offer plenty of promotions, rewards programs and incentives.

Q Casino

The Q Casino in Iowa keeps their name short but has plenty to offer. They are not only a full casino with slots, table games, bingo, keno, and poker tables, they are also a very popular greyhound racetrack. This gambling venue in Iowa is located, owned, and operated by the city of Dubuque, the Q is another highly rated gambling destination in Iowa. Along with a hotel, entertainment, and fine dining, the Q is an all around attraction in Dubuque year round.

Online Poker

Many unsuccessful efforts have been made in Iowa to legalize online poker in the state. That effort continues to this day and there are high hopes of passage within the next year or two. For now, Iowa players can access off-shore accounts with no worry of legal hangups.

Iowa Lotteries

Iowa has a very modern lottery available in their state. All of the big-time games are there including Mega Millions and Powerball. They also have a top-notch website with its own set of games at the ready.

The state of Iowa’s lottery system is a well-honed one with all of the major games available. Whether if it is the scratch off variety or a good old-fashioned drawing you play, you won’t have any problem finding

them at the any of the state’s retailers. Mega Millions, Powerball, Pick 3, Pick 4, Lucky Day, and Lotto America are all available and the cost can be as low as $1 depending on the game you play. The Iowa Lottery also makes great use of their website where all the information you need is easy to access. Not only that, the website also has plenty of promotions and even more contests to take advantage of. Iowa loves its Lottery and so do the big winners. In 2018 a lucky player split a ticket for $343.9 million.

Fantasy Sports Betting in Iowa

While fantasy sports gambling is currently illegal in the state, there is plenty of movements forward on the issue. DFS has operated off and on in Iowa for some time but has not been able to find a foothold as of yet. This is sure to change soon as Iowa is progressing on all legal gambling options.

Sports betting is live in Iowa on August 2019. Betting apps and venues:

  • Rhythm City Casino
  • Prairie Meadows
  • Lakeside Sportsbook
  • Catfish Bend Casino
  • Isle Waterloo and Isle Bettendorf Sports betting venues
  • Ameristar Council Bluffs
  • Riverside

Horse Racing Gambling

Iowa currently has two horse racing betting tracks in operation and players are able to wager online as well. The tracks act as OTB’s as well and races from all over the country can be accessed for wagering.

ADW providers advertise that they accept online bets on horse races from Iowa residents, including:

  • BetAmerica;

Yes, is also among Iowa horse racing betting sites. However, the Iowa HBPA has recently complained that ADW online providers are doing business in the state without getting licensed and urged the state to crack down on the practice.

The Hawkeye State also is considering legislation authorizing sports wagering, and the Iowa horseman’s group has sought to become the sole license holder in the state, which could significantly impact the state racing industry’s fortunes.

Iowa permits betting on horse and dog racing, as well as excursion boat gambling and many types of gaming in commercial and tribal casinos. It also has Iowa state lottery.

Iowa has one live horse racing venue: Prairie Meadows Racecourse in the Des Moines suburb of Altoona, which hosts both thoroughbred and quarter horse meets. Harness racing of standardbreds continues to be run at some county fairs, but betting is not allowed.

In addition, Iowa is home to two other “racinos,” Horseshoe Council Bluffs and the Q Casino in Dubuque, both of which formerly held greyhound dog races but now make payments to the nonprofit operator of the state’s sole remaining dog track, the Iowa Greyhound Park in Dubuque.

Iowa allows advance deposit wagering enabling online or phone betting on horse racing and has issued a license under a unique arrangement involving Prairie Meadows, the Iowa HBPA, representative of the state’s horsemen, and 

10 Biggest cities in Iowa for online gambling:

  1. Des Moines
  2. Cedar Rapids
  3. Davenport
  4. Sioux City
  5. Iowa City
  6. Waterloo
  7. Ames
  8. West Des Moines
  9. Council Bluffs
  10. Dubuque