It was not always the case, but Iowa is now emerging as one of the USA’s premier gambling destinations.
The Hawkeye State is home to 19 casinos – including several riverboats – and opened a whole new world of gambling options with the legalisation of sports betting, online wagering and daily fantasy sports in 2019.
Iowa residents also have plenty of options for live poker, horse racing, dog racing, bingo and a state lottery.
MORE INFO: USA GAMBLING GUIDE
Sports betting in Iowa
As was the case in most of the country, sports betting was illegal in Iowa under the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). The only states exempted from this blanket ban were Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon, which had existing laws for sports gambling grandfathered in.
Everything changed in May 2018, when the US Supreme Court ruled that PASPA was unconstitutional and removed it from federal legislation. That opened the door for states to create their own sports betting laws – an invitation the likes of New Jersey, Mississippi and Pennsylvania accepted post-haste.
In May 2019, about a year after the PASPA ruling, Governor Kim Reynolds ratified a gambling reform bill that made Iowa the ninth state to legalise gambling on sporting events. Online betting was also given the all clear, as were daily fantasy sports sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel.
The Hawkeye State is flush with casinos, most of which are expected to launch sportsbooks and mobile betting sites by 2020, so residents will have no shortage of legal gambling options.
Online sportsbooks for Iowa
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Iowa will have a multitude of local sports betting options soon enough. Until then, there are hundreds of reputable online sportsbooks to choose from.
You want to sign up for a book that has all the things you are looking for in terms of your specific sports betting needs. Look online and read reviews on different sports betting sites to find out which one is right for you.
What a good sportsbook should have is solid player security, many bets types and sports with lines, 24/7 customer service, enticing bonuses and promotions, and secure banking options. Fast payouts are a big plus, while we recommend reading the fine print with bonuses and promos so you understand the wagering requirements.
Here are three very reputable online sportsbooks:
- BetOnline.ag – This is a sportsbook that has all the bases covered. They are reputable, have great player security, a solid customer support service, multiple deposit and withdrawal options, and some nice, and always changing, bonuses and promotions. BetOnline.ag also has a poker room and an online casino with live dealer games. Overall, the site is hard to top.
- Sportsbetting.ag – This sportsbook has all the things BetOnline.ag does, which is no surprise given they are owned by the same company. Sportsbetting.ag offers all things a good bookmaker should have and much, much more, including popular modern features such as live betting and mobile betting.
- Xbet.ag – These guys treat their customers well. They have a ton of betting options across hundreds of sports categories, as well as safe banking options, 24/7 customer service, and lucrative bonuses and promotions. The site is attractive with no lack of sports betting info, but still quite easy to navigate.
Betting on horse racing in Iowa
Horse race betting is legal in Iowa, with the two main tracks being Prairie Meadows Racecourse (also a casino complex) and Thunder Ridge.
The Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap and the Iowa Distaff are the two most popular races in the state and there are other harness and quarter horse races.
There are also many legitimate and reputable racebooks to choose from online. International bookies run betting markets on hundreds of tracks around the world and offer exclusive bonuses, promotions and bet specials for premier US horse races, especially the Kentucky Derby and the other Triple Crown events.
Besides the available races and added incentives, online bookies also have a much wider range of bet types and stake options than your average turf accountant.
Online Poker in Iowa
There are poker tables at the riverboat casinos and the tribal casinos, but the most convenient options can be found online. Not only can you find the most games, but also a wide variety of poker games, at a wide variety of stakes.
Although online poker remains a grey area in Iowa, there are many legit poker rooms online today that accept players from all over the United States. Just like a sportsbook or racebook, it pays to do a little homework to find a good one for you.
Also, online you will find a ton of poker tournaments, including several that offer qualification routes to major land-based events such as the World Series of Poker.
Online gambling laws in Iowa
For many years, Chapter 725 of the Iowa Code included a broad definition of gambling that failed to address online betting and other forms of remote wagering. That changed in 2019 when online gambling was legalised along with sports betting and DFS games.
The updated legislation allows gamblers to bet online provided they first confirm their age and identity at a land-based betting establishment. Although designed for sports betting, the move paves the way for more lenient laws regarding online casino games and online poker down the track.