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Iowa Sports Betting 2020

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Legal since: 05-13-2019
Legal since May 2019
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  • Senate Bill 617 legalized Sports Betting
  • Online alternatives are provided through the actual brick & mortar casinos with online partners
  • Authority: Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC)
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Iowa Silhouette
Legal since: 05-13-2019

Online Iowa Sports Betting: Quick Overview 2020

If you've been wondering does Iowa have sports betting, the answer is yes! Iowa sports betting officially launched on August 15, 2019, after the bill regulating sports betting was passed earlier that year, in May. Iowa was quick to pick up on the newly created opportunity that emerged from the Supreme Court overturning PASPA and they passed the law regulating sports betting activities in the state, picking up a lot of momentum in the process. Laws regulating sports betting in the state do have some oddities but are, in general, quite good for bettors and operators alike.

Introduction to Iowa Sports Betting 2019

As mentioned in the introduction, Iowa was quick to pick up on the newly created situation that emerged with PASPA being overturned. The state realized this was an excellent opportunity to create some additional revenue by passing an Iowa sports betting bill and regulating betting market. So, the bill was passed as early as May, 2019, while Iowa sports betting 2019 officially started in August, with several operators launching their retail (land-based) and online operations simultaneously.

The state only offered licenses to existing gambling venues (casinos) that wanted to expand into the sports betting arena. This made it possible for the market to grow quickly as those casinos already had all prerequisites to quickly launch betting platforms and get the ball rolling. Iowa was the third state to pass a sports betting bill and take advantage of the newly created opportunity.

Landbased Sports Betting Legal Situation

As mentioned, Iowa sports betting rules stipulate that only landbased casinos already licensed by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission qualify to apply for the license. It came as little surprise that thirteen casinos successfully applied for the license and went live with their betting platforms in August, looking to get their foot in the door early on.

There are nineteen casinos in total in Iowa and the remaining operators will likely look to get their own licenses as well in the near future. This is good for business and can only increase their bottom lines, especially given a highly favorable climate that the state is offering at the moment, with low licensing fees and more than manageable taxes.

Online Sports Betting Legal Situation

Sports betting in Iowa kicked off with the online segment included from the day one. However, the law addressing this particular aspect is somewhat different to that present in other regulated states. In Indiana, for example, players can download an app, register, and even deposit without even being in the state. They just have to be in the state to place actual bets.

Iowa has taken a completely different route with their approach to online sports betting. Not only that bettors have to be physically present in the state to be able to register with an app but they have to actually visit the casino that powers the betting app and sign up in person.

This is one of the most criticized segments of the new betting law as it seems quite restrictive and will certainly have adverse influence on the number of people deciding to bet online in the state. While it is all perfectly legal and regulated, that extra hurdle of having to visit the casino is bound to deter at least some percentage of those who would definitely get involved with online betting in Iowa otherwise.

Mobile Sports Betting & Gambling Situation

While the regulators don’t have everything figured out when it comes to the online segment of betting sports, they clearly understood its importance in today’s environment. This is clear from the fact that the Iowa sports betting legislation doesn’t just provide for mobile apps from the day one but even gives operator a chance to run two apps (skins) under the same gaming license.

This means that Iowans can easily bet on their favorite sporting leagues and events from their mobile devices using apps developed by sportsbooks. The only hurdle is the one we’ve already mentioned, i.e. the fact bettors have to physically register at a casino of their choice for the first time. Once that is done, they can use the app without any further complications but this first step is definitely a bit of a barrier for entry. It is also important to note that those wanting to be able to bet via an app must register in person no later than January 1, 2021.

Online Sports Betting Operator Licensing Process

As mentioned, entities that can apply to run an Iowa sportsbook are nineteen casinos that already have gaming licenses from the state’s gaming commission. So far, thirteen casinos have already acquired their licenses with more operators fairly certain to come along in the near future as Iowa has got a lot to offer to betting providers.

First of all, the licensing fee is fairly low in comparison to other states as it stands at USD 45,000. There is also a renewal fee of USD 10,000, but these two together aren’t expensive at all and the operators should have no problems meeting these requirements. This makes the Iowa betting market a very appealing one.

The gambling tax operators have to pay is just 6.75 percent, which matches the taxation rate in Nevada and is very favorable. The taxation percentage is another reason why gambling operators will definitely be looking to get in on the action and set up shop in Iowa as soon as possible. This will create a healthy competition, which is something bettors will benefit from the most.

Iowa Online Sportsbook List 2020

No legal operator yet

History of Gambling & Sports Betting in Iowa

Although today it is one of the states with more progressive gambling laws and looking like a good candidate to regulate other forms of online gambling and poker in the near future, this wasn’t always the case in Iowa.

The early Constitution of Iowa from 1846 prohibited all types of lotteries and, by proxy, all other forms of gambling as well. This very same provision was once again included in the Constitution in 1857 and it would remain in place for well over a century. It wasn’t until 1972 that things finally started to change.

After a lot of political effort, the provision banning the state lottery was finally removed from the Constitution in 1972. This opened doors for things to start moving forward so, in 1973, the state allowed for some games of chance, such as bingo and raffles. This was followed by the 1983 provision that legalized pari-mutual betting at dog and horse racetracks. Then, in 1985, the state lottery was officially launched.

First casinos in Iowa opened their doors in 1991. These were two riverboat casinos, which were followed by two more in 1994. Then, in the years to follow, more and more gambling operators started to set up shop, reaching the number of 19 casinos that we have in Iowa today.

In the recent years, the state has also dabbled with bills to regulate online poker and online gambling, so there was no question will Iowa allow sports betting. The only question was when this would happen. As it turned out, the state was quick to seize the opportunity, passing the sports betting bill in May of 2019, with first betting operators going live in September of the same year.

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Sports Betting Iowa: Frequently Asked Questions

At the moment, there is only legalized sports betting in Iowa. Players wanting to try their luck with other forms of gambling, be it slots, roulette, blackjack, or online poker, will still have to wait. The state is yet to pass a law regulating other forms of online gambling, although it’s likely to come soon.

There are 0 online sports betting Iowa sites available at the moment. These casinos were quick to pick up their gambling licenses as soon as the state had passed the betting bill. There will likely be more betting shops opening their doors in the future.

You can choose from a number of operators, all offering different perks for their bettors. All currently available betting sites are fully licensed and regulated so your choice of the best sports betting Iowa provider will depend a lot on personal preferences and what you expect from a sportsbook.

Iowa was one of the first states to regulate sports betting shortly after this was made possible by the court decision overturning PASPA, passing the bill after Nevada and New Jersey. The law was passed in May of 2019, followed by the first betting shops going live on August 15.

Apart from sports betting, which can be done remotely, Iowa is still to pass any laws regulating other forms of online gambling. So, at the moment, other casino games and online poker aren’t legal in Iowa. Luckily for the players, this is likely to change in the near future.

Betting operators in Iowa were allowed to offer mobile betting from the first day of the launch. Bettors can place their wagers from within the state borders, as with most other state-licensed sportsbooks. However, you will need to register with the casino in person to use the mobile app.

All forms of gambling, including any online activities, are regulated by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. This is the state body that issues casinos and sports betting licenses and oversees all the operators to make sure they are acting in accordance with current laws in place.

Importance of Responsible Gambling

While all forms of gambling, sports betting included, are meant to be a form of entertainment, it is possible for things to get out of hands. We promote responsible gambling and want to play our part in making sure everyone is only gambling within their means and only with the funds they can afford to lose.

Staying in control of your gambling can sometimes be difficult and gambling addiction is a real thing. It is important to understand this and not to be ashamed if you notice you’re struggling with keeping your cool when playing. You’re not the only one with this problem and there are organizations out there that can help you.

If you or someone you know has problems with gambling, you should turn to an organization like Gamblers Anonymous and seek help. Admitting to a problem is the first and most crucial step in its resolution. Don’t be afraid to take that step if you start feeling like you’re no longer in control over your gaming habits.

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS): Skill-based Betting

As some of you might know, Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) are a special type of contest where players’ knowledge and skills really come to the forefront. Unlike traditional sports betting where bettors go against bookies trying to beat their odds and lines, DFS pitches players against each other and those more knowledgeable usually come out on top.

When it comes to Iowa, things are quite strange in terms of fantasy sports. Although the state is quite progressive in terms of gambling laws in general and the sports betting bill was passed, the DFS situation still remains in a limbo. Iowans still can’t play on major fantasy operators, FanDuel and DraftKings.

It is hard to pinpoint the exact issue in this situation. It seems that both the state regulator and the operators are keen to get the ball rolling but the status quo has been present for some five years now. Both parties are trying to iron out some details before the final rollout but this “ironing” process has been going on for a while now, all the while Iowans are denied the opportunity to get involved with fantasy sports.

Lately, things are finally starting to look up on this particular front, though. If current trends continue, bettors from Iowa should have access to their favorite DFS sites in the near future, which would make excellent additions to the newly regulated traditional sports betting market.

Social Casinos: Enjoy Casino Games & Don’t Lose Any Money

As already mentioned, other forms of gambling that don’t go under the heading of sports betting are still not regulated in Iowa. So, those players who enjoy playing a few hands of blackjack, trying their luck on slots, or testing their prediction skills on a roulette wheel are left behind. The legislation seems to be in the works but it’s hard to say when there will be some actual movement.

Those who hate waiting around and want to experience some action can still have some fun even if real money gambling is still not regulated in the state. The way to do this is true social casinos – fully developed gambling sites with a variety of gaming options that offer everything you’d find on an actual casino except for the chance to wager real money.

These sits, like Slotomania or Viva Slots, offer a lot of excitement and give you a chance to play all sorts of casino games without requiring any real money deposits. You’ll still get to experience the excitement of gambling as you’ll wager play money and fight to unlock new achievements, gain access to new slots, etc. While this isn’t exactly the same as the real thing, it does get as close as it possibly could.

Quick Iowa Gambling Guide

Permitted / Offered? Notes & Restrictions
Land-Based Casinos Yes Landbased casinos are allowed in the state and licensed by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission
Online Gambling No Iowa is still to pass a bill regulating online casinos and online poker, so these activities remain illegal
Sports Betting Yes The state was one of the first to pass the betting law in May of 2019 with first betting operators going live a few months later, in August, in retail shops and online
Lottery Yes lowa state lottery was officially launched in 1985
Daily Fantasy Sports No Interestingly enough, Iowa doesn’t allow major DFS operators to offer their services in the state as of yet
House Gambling Yes Small stakes poker games are allowed, as long as the house doesn’t take rake
Minimum Gambling Age 18 The minimum age for the state lottery is 18, while casino gambling and sports betting require players to be at least 21