Iowa officially launched sports betting in August 2019, just a few months after the state officially legalized the industry. Iowa was one of a few states working on legalizing the industry before the US Supreme Court made this a possibility.
There aren’t any professional sports teams in the state of Iowa, but that hasn’t stopped sportsbooks from seeing tremendous success. Iowa is located in the heart of the United States, and there are plenty of great sports states around.
Currently, Iowa has a unique in-person registration rule that has slowed the growth of the industry, but that will all change in 2021. The Midwest portion of the US is now extremely competitive in the sports betting industry, and Iowa is set to become a real player.
The History behind Legal Sports Betting in Iowa
Iowa has a large casino industry, which set up the state to quickly transition into the sports betting industry. Lawmakers in the state were already considering launching sports betting before it even became a real possibility.
SF 617 was the bill that was signed into law by Governor Kim Reynolds in May 2019, but that bill did not always receive a ton of support. After almost three months of debates and special meetings, SF 617 eventually passed through both houses with bipartisan support.
Senator Bobby Kaufmann and Representative Roby Smith were the two men most responsible for getting SF 617 passed. These two lawmakers are co-chairs of the Ways and Means Committee, a group that explores new revenue sources for the state.
After the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission was put in charge of the industry, it did not take them long to get things going. The sports betting industry launched in August, less than three months after the bill was signed into law.
Mobile betting was included in the sports betting law, but one requirement has held the industry back. In-person registration is required for any bettor to create an account, but that requirement will end on January 1, 2021.
Iowa does have some of the industry’s smallest licensing fees, requiring just $45,000 to own a sports betting license in the state. Sports betting revenue is taxed at a rate of 6.75%, and that money is then sent to the general fund for the state.
Financial History behind Legal Sports Betting in Iowa
Sports betting in Iowa started off relatively slowly in the first three months that the industry was live, but things started to turn around in November 2019. Iowa continued on a steady path heading into 2020 until the COVID-19 pandemic brought things to a screeching halt.
The total sports betting handle in Iowa during August 2019 was just $8.76 million. There were a limited number of betting options in that first month, but that has since changed. The total betting handle jumped up to $38.53 million in September 2019.
November 2019 was the best month for the industry through the first 12 months of operation. In that month, the sports betting handle jumped up to $59.34 million.
The $59.34 million was almost matched a few times over the next few months as the total handle stayed above $56 million through February 2020. March was expected to be a huge month for the Iowa sports betting industry, but everything was quickly shut down thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Total sports betting handle from April-July 2020 totaled just $44.12 million, and the industry was struggling. Most retail sportsbooks were shut down, and there was no way for new customers to sign up for an account.
When restrictions were lifted and live sports started to come back, the handle jumped up to $50.31 million in August. September sports betting handle reached over $78 million in Iowa, easily shattering the previous record.
It appears that the industry has now fully recovered from the pandemic, and the state will look to continue to set new records in the future.
Sportsbook Apps in Iowa
The mobile sports betting industry in Iowa has been hurt a bit by the in-person registration requirement, but there are still some excellent mobile sportsbooks available in the state. Some of the biggest names in the industry have formed a partnership with Iowa casinos, giving them a path into the state.
13 of the 19 casinos in Iowa now offer some form of mobile betting, and most have done so by partnering with a sports betting operator. Others have chosen to launch a small mobile version themselves, but apps such as “Q Sportsbook” aren’t very competitive in the industry.
Elite Sportsbook and William Hill were the first two online sportsbook apps in Iowa, but it didn’t take long for DraftKings and FanDuel to launch. These two operators are the biggest in the state, and always dominate betting handle and revenue.
- DraftKings Sportsbook
- Elite Sportsbook
- FanDuel Sportsbook
- Hard Rock
- PointsBet Iowa
- Q Sportsbook
- William Hill
Some casinos have yet to launch a mobile sportsbook, and that leaves some room for growth. All but one of the commercial casinos already have sports betting partners, but other betting skins are still available.
Here are some other names that will likely be looking to break into the Iowa mobile sports betting industry include:
- Fox Bet
- Barstool Sportsbook
Landlocked Locations to Bet on Sports in Iowa
One of the biggest reasons lawmakers in Iowa had for legalizing sports betting was to provide new revenue sources for the current commercial casinos. There are 19 commercial casinos in operation throughout Iowa, and all of these properties had the ability to apply for a sports betting license.
In-person registration laws also attract new business to these casino properties as customers must create an account at a physical sportsbook before they can place bets online. When Iowa first launched sports betting, 13 of the 19 casinos were ready to go in that first month.
Presently, 18 of the 19 commercial casinos offer sports betting of some form in Iowa. Below is a list of all of these properties, with their sports betting partner listed in parentheses.
- Ameristar Council Bluffs (DraftKings)
- Catfish Bend Casino-Burlington (PointsBet)
- Diamond Jo Casino (FanDuel, PlayMGM)
- Diamond Jo Casino-Worth (FanDuel, PlayMGM)
- Grand Falls Casino (Bet.Works)
- Hard Rock Sioux City (GiG)
- Harrah’s Council Bluffs (Scientific Games)
- Horseshoe Council Bluffs (Scientific Games)
- Isle of Capri-Bettendorf (William Hill)
- Isle of Capri-Waterloo (William Hill)
- Lakeside Hotel & Casino (William Hill)
- Prairie Meadows (William Hill)
- Q Casino (TBA)
- Rhythm City Casino Resort (Bet.Works)
- Riverside Casino & Golf Resort (Bet.Works)
- Wild Rose Casino and Resort-Clinton (DraftKings, BetRivers)
- Wild Rose Casino and Resort-Emmetsburg (DraftKings, BetRivers)
- Wild Rose Casino and Resort-Jefferson (DraftKings, BetRivers
The Casino Queen Marquette has a sports betting license application ready to go, but they have yet to officially submit it. They remain the only commercial casino in Iowa not to offer sports betting, but that will likely change in the coming weeks.
Sports Teams to Bet on in Iowa
Iowa is not home to any professional sports teams, but that does not mean that there aren’t any popular teams in the state. Without professional teams, college sports are extremely popular, and there are some terrific options for Iowa sports bettors.
The Iowa Hawkeyes are the most popular team in Iowa, but the Iowa State Cyclones are a close second. Both of these teams bring plenty of excitement during both college football and college basketball seasons.
Iowa is also located in the heart of Big Ten and Big 12 country, and these are two of the biggest leagues in the country. This gives sports fans in the state several terrific college athletic programs to root for and support.
Even though there are no professional sports teams in the state, Iowa sports fans have plenty of popular teams to root for. Football is the most popular sport in the state, and Iowa residents are traditionally big fans of the NFC North Division.
The Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, and Minnesota Vikings all have a large legion of fans in Iowa, and these teams help drive sports betting. The state is pretty split when it comes to fans of each team, and it typically depends on the location as to which teams fans root for.
Baseball is another popular sport in Iowa, and three teams typically generate the largest number of fans. These teams are the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, and the Kansas City Royals. All three of these teams have had success recently, which is another reason why they are popular.
Most people don’t tend to think of Iowa as one of the best sports states in the United States, but there are still plenty of die-hard sports fans in the Hawkeye State.
FAQ for betting in Iowa
When was sports betting legalized in Iowa?
Iowa legalized sports betting in May 2019, becoming one of the first states in the Midwest to legalize the industry.
When did the sports betting industry launch?
After legalizing the industry in May 2019, the state wasted little time getting things up and rolling. Iowa launched sports betting in August 2019.
Can I place a bet online in the state of Iowa?
Yes, mobile sports betting is legal and launched in the state of Iowa. Mobile sportsbook apps are available for download on both Android and iOS devices.
When does the in-person registration requirement end?
In-person registration is in place until January 1, 2021. At that time, bettors can create an account through a mobile device and won’t need to visit a casino before placing bets.
What is the legal betting age in Iowa?
The legal age to place a bet on sports in the state of Iowa is 21 years of age.
What group regulates the Iowa sports betting industry?
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission is in charge of regulating the sports betting industry in the state. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission reviews all sports betting operator licenses and determines which groups will be given a license.
Can I place a bet on college sporting events in Iowa?
Yes, Iowa does allow for betting on collegiate sporting events, with one minor exception. In-game prop betting is not allowed on college teams from the state of Iowa or on a game that is taking place within the state.
Do I have to live in Iowa to place a bet?
No. But you do have to be within the state when you want to place a bet. Visitors of the state can create a sports betting account that can be used anytime you are back inside state boundaries. Location services must be turned on before placing a mobile or online wager.