Iowa Betting Laws

Sports betting in Iowa got a shot in the arm in January 2021 with law changes to make it easier for people to bet. Until then, the Hawkeye State had been accepting sports bets, but still operating with one hand tied behind its back, by making mobile bettors register in-person at a retail bookmaker.

The state has a population of 3.17million, enough to give plenty of scope to drive a nice handle for sports betting.

There are no major professional sports franchises in the state of Iowa, but there are some collegiate powerhouses which drive plenty of local interest, headed by the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Iowa State Cyclones.

Is sports betting legal in Iowa?

Yes, sports betting has been legal in the state of Iowa since May 2019. That was a year after the Supreme Court struck down PASPA, a law that prohibited sports betting outside of Nevada.

This meant states could now rule on an individual basis if they wanted to legalize sports betting.

But Iowa’s 2019 decision came with one major barrier to big bucks. Anybody registering for a mobile account had to do so in person at a retail sportsbook. That barrier though was finally lifted at the start of 2021, now proof of age and ID is enough.

The results were immediate and spectacular. Super Bowl LV between Kansas City and Tampa Bay in early February drove a handle of $16.3million. More than double the previous year’s game.

The monthly handle for January 2021 meanwhile was $149.5million, obliterating the previous record of $104.8million. Most of that cash was being bet via mobile, of course.

So while Iowa has had sports betting live for well over a year, in reality it’s only just beginning.

Where can I bet in Iowa?

Like we said, you have the full suite of options available now in Iowa:

Mobile

Now that the requirement for in-person registration is no more, there is far more competition for your mobile betting dollars. Sportsbooks include:

  • Betfred Sportsbook: Began as a small operator in the UK, but not a big player globally.
  • BetMGM Sportsbook: Really strong app, launched in recently in IA. Good option.
  • BetRivers Sportsbook: Nice product and very trusted in the U.S. market.
  • DraftKings Sportsbook: Huge player and really making waves now in iA.
  • Elite Sportsbook: App only for now, no website. Though this is expected to come.
  • FanDuel Sportsbook: The U.S. market leader. Behemoth with great trust and offers.
  • Hard Rock Sportsbook: Cool brand with a nice product. Merits a close look.
  • PointsBet Sportsbook: Originally from Australia, now a U.S. staple.
  • Q Sportsbook: Local option. Note you need to ownload the Android app from the Q Casino website. 
  • William Hill Sportsbook: Huge UK brand which was recently snapped up by Caesars in a near $4billion acquisition.

More mobile sportsbooks are expected to open soon in Iowa, so keep checking back for further updates.

In-person

You can bet legally on sports at a number of Iowa sites. Council Bluffs (a two-hour drive from Des Moines) and Dubuque (three hours away) are nice spots to look at with multiple sportsbooks:

  • Ameristar Casino, Council Bluffs, IA 51501
  • Casino Queen Marquette, Marquette, IA 52158
  • Catfish Bend Casino, Burlington, IA 52601
  • DIamond Jo Casino, Dubuque, IA 52001
  • Diamond Jo Worth Casino, Northwood, IA 50459 
  • Grand Falls Casino Resort, Larchwood, IA 51241
  • Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Sioux City, IA 51101
  • Harrah’s Council Bluffs Casino & Hotel, Council Bluffs, IA 51501
  • Horseshoe Casino Council Bluffs, Council Bluffs, IA 51501-6968
  • Iowa Greyhound Park, Dubuque, IA 52001
  • Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo, Waterloo, IA 50701
  • Isle Of Capri – Bettendorf, Bettendorf, IA 52722
  • Lakeside Hotel Casino, Osceola, IA 50213
  • Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino, Altoona, IA 50009-0901
  • Q Casino, Dubuque, IA 52001
  • Rhythm City Casino, Davenport, IA 52807
  • Riverside Casino and Golf Resort, Riverside, IA 52327
  • Wild Rose Casino & Resorts – Clinton, Clinton, IA 52732-7700
  • Wild Rose Csino & Resorts – Emmetsburg, Emmetsburg, IA 50536 
  • Wild Rose Casino & Resorts – Jefferson, Jefferson, IA 50129

Do you need to be resident in Iowa to bet there?

You do not need to be a resident of Iowa to bet there. Just inside state lines, of legal age and not on any relevant exclusion lists.

What is the legal sports betting age in Iowa?

You need to be 21 or older to bet legally on sports in the state of Iowa.

How do I place a sports bet online in Iowa?

A straightforward process for would-be sports bettors:

  • Be in the state of Iowa and of legal age
  • Visit a sportsbook website or download its app to your smartphone
  • Register for a sportsbook account on the website or app
  • Deposit funds into your new sportsbook account
  • Search the website or app for the sports and events you want to bet on
  • Choose the event you want to bet on, and how much you want to bet
  • You can now place your first bet in Iowa

What type of sports bets can I place in Iowa?

  • Moneyline: Yes
  • Point Spread: Yes
  • Parlay: Yes
  • Teasers: Yes
  • Futures: Yes
  • Over/Under: Yes
  • Round Robin: Yes

What Sports can I Bet on in Iowa?

You can bet on all major sports in Iowa, including:

Legal Sports Betting near Iowa

An important point to remember is that sports betting laws are set down based on your location, not where you are resident.

So you can bet in any state where sports betting is allowed, assuming you are of legal age and abide by state rules.

While Iowa is now up and running for in-person and mobile sports betting, it’s good to know what other options you have close by.

In this case the only bordering state which is live right now is Illinois. It’s expected to be a big player, and has opened up with the full suite of betting options including mobile.

As with most states, you need to be 21 years or older to bet there.

NB: Voters in South Dakota have given approval for sports betting in Deadwood, and now the rollout there is being planned.

Are offshore sportsbooks legal in Iowa?

No, offshore sportsbooks are not legal in the state of Iowa.

Offshore firms have no license to operate in any U.S. jurisdiction, no legal right to offer you a bet.

The big issue with this is that if you do sign up and deposit your dollars, you have no consumer protection if anything goes wrong.

It’s just not worth the risk in our view. Our advice? Stick with legal options, starting right in your own state.