Legal Iowa Sports Betting

Iowa is one of the most gambling-friendly states in America, and with the recent law changes, there aren’t as many questions about legal Iowa sports betting. Iowa has officially legalized both land-based and online sports wagering and the state launched its industry before the start of the 2019 NFL season. This was a goal they put in place when debating the regulations and they made this goal, opening operations at one of the most perfect times. With their launch on August 15, 2019, Iowa became the tenth state to offer single-game sports wagering.

Keep in mind that just because Iowa now has legal sports betting, it doesn’t mean there are no restrictions. Certain wagers such as collegiate prop bets on local teams are not allowed at these books and other restrictions surrounding online betting keep you from traveling with your mobile sportsbook. We’ll discuss all of this throughout this page, including the overview of the online yet offshore sportsbooks that are still legal and used by Iowa residents today. Even with the excitement of local books opening, you’d be wise to compare odds with these offshore books, as shopping lines for the best payouts gives every bettor an immediate edge.

Is Land-Based Sports Betting Legal In Iowa?

Yes! With the passage of IA SF 617 into law, land-based sports wagering is finally legal in Iowa. The law allows for land-based wagering at all 19 of Iowa’s casino venues, which are conveniently spread evenly throughout the state. Iowa residents can now enjoy visiting various sportsbooks depending on which location is most convenient, whether its the William Hil sportsbook at Isle Bettendorf or the Elite Sportsbook at Riverside.

Is Online Sports Betting Legal In Iowa?

While it was already legal to use offshore sports betting websites to place your wagers from inside Iowa borders, state-licensed online sports betting was officially legalized along with the land-based options referenced above. Any Iowa casino that offers sports wagering may also offer online wagering via mobile betting apps. In fact, each venue can actually offer two different online betting products (aka “skins”), which should give residents more options than they could ever need.

However, just because state-based Internet wagering is now coming to Iowa, it is important to remember something. The Federal Wire Act prevents any sportsbook from accepting betting action from a player who is not located within Iowa state lines. They will ensure they are not breaking US sports betting laws by geolocating your phone when you attempt to wager. Offshore sports betting websites – which have been legal in IA for years – continue to operate with no problems and are not subject to this federal law.

Where To Bet On NFL Games In Iowa?

When Iowa legalized sports betting, they hit the ground running. There are a large number of locations where you can bet on sports in Iowa. Altoona, Bettendorf, Burlington, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Larchwood, Osceola, Riverside, and Waterloo all have sportsbooks available. A good chunk of these locations has mobile sports betting available as well, but you need to register at the retail sportsbook. If you do not live near one of these cities, then we recommend you go to online legal sportsbooks to bet on NFL games. They will have better promotions and they are far more convenient than a retail sportsbook.

Where To Bet On Sports In Iowa

If you want to get in on some legal Iowa sports betting then all you need is a computer or mobile device, an Internet connection, a few dollars, and about five minutes. Just hop over to a legal online sportsbook like Bovada, SportsBetting, BetOnline, or 5Dimes. There you can set up a free user account, deposit your funds, and place your bets. That’s literally all there is to it. Even now that Iowa’s casinos are allowed to offer sports betting to their customers (pending launch), using these websites is still easier, faster, and more convenient for most bettors.

You can sign up at as many of the above sites as you want. Since it’s free to do so, there is little risk on your part. The reward? By being a member at more than one legal online sportsbook, you will be able to shop around for the very best bets and lines on any given contest. This alone should afford you a substantial edge and could make you a considerable amount of money in the long run. 

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Where’s The Closest Place To Me To Bet?

With Iowa sports betting being legalized, you can expect to be able to wager at any of the state’s 19 casino venues. They have already signed partnerships with renowned sportsbook operators to bring you the best betting experiences possible. For example, the Prairie Meadows Casino and Hotel (Altoona) has joined forces with William Hill, and the Catfish Bend Casino (Burlington) has partnered with PointsBet. You can find sports betting available in and around the following Iowa cities, to name just a few.

Altoona Iowa Sportsbooks
Bettendorf Iowa Sportsbooks
Burlington Iowa Sportsbooks
Council Bluffs Iowa Sportsbooks
Davenport Iowa Sportsbooks
Larchwood Iowa Sportsbooks
Osceola Iowa Sportsbooks
Riverside Iowa Sportsbooks
Waterloo Iowa Sportsbooks

Iowa Sports Betting And Gambling Laws

On paper, Iowa gambling law is a seemingly impossible contradiction in terms. Its state laws – found in § 725.7 of the Iowa Code – simultaneously ban “any bet” in all forms while carving out so many exceptions that Iowa’s become one of the most gambling-friendly states in the country.

Iowa’s first horse track was opened in 1989, and its first casinos were legalized for operation on tribal lands in 1991. In the decades to follow, both tribal casinos and commercial casinos have prospered in the area, making Iowa one of the premier gambling destinations in the Midwest. Iowa also has a lottery, legal bingo, charity raffles, greyhound racing, and pari-mutuel/simulcast betting available throughout the state. Oddly, Daily Fantasy Sports is not yet a part of Iowa’s gambling milieu, but progress is being made on that front.

Sports betting, the most popular type of gambling in America and Iowa has joined a growing list of sports betting states, with the governor signing the requisite bills into law on May 13, 2019. As a result, all of Iowa’s casino venues can offer sports wagering, and each venue can launch up to two branded “skins.” That means that, by law, there can be a theoretical maximum of 38 different sportsbooks in the state. Most venues will use one “skin” for their physical betting lounges and the other skin for an online wagering product.

Iowa Sports Betting Revenue

Iowa opened its first sportsbooks in August 2019 and business expanded rapidly. There are currently 18 operational sportsbooks at casinos throughout the state. In five-plus months, Iowa sportsbooks have totaled $270.2 million in betting handle, $22.5 million in revenue, and $1.5 million in tax contributions. The state’s tax rate on sports betting revenue is a paltry 6.75%, tied with Nevada for the lowest such rate, which has severely limited the potential positive impact on the state budget. Stretched out over a full calendar year, that would be $648.6 million in handle, $54 million in revenue, and $3.6 million in taxes. With nearby high population states like Illinois and Michigan set to launch sports betting soon, Iowa could see its revenue dip in 2020 and 2021.

What Teams Can I Bet On?

If you’re interested in what home teams you can bet on in Iowa, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that there are several Division-I NCAA teams to follow. The bad news is that there are no teams from any of the US major professional sports leagues operating in the state. That said, there’s plenty of Iowa fandom for teams like the Vikings and Packers, the Cubs, the Bulls, and the Blackhawks. Whether you use an in-state book or are visiting Bovada, SportsBetting, BetOnline, or 5Dimes, you can bet on any Iowa team or any other club your heart desires (though it’s recommended that you always bet with your head, not your heart).


Cedar Rapids Titans (IFL) Drake Bulldogs (NCAA) Iowa Barnstormers (IFL)
Iowa Hawkeyes (NCAA) Iowa State Cyclones (NCAA) Iowa Wild (AHL)
Northern Iowa Panthers (NCAA)    

Horse Racing Betting In Iowa

Prairie Meadows is the only remaining horse track in Iowa. (It’s also the first in-state IA venue to partner with a sportsbook operator – William Hill – in anticipation of sports betting legalization.) Situated in the city of Altoona, this “racino” offers pari-mutuel Thoroughbred and American Quarter Horse racing betting, simulcast horse and greyhound races, slot machines, and various casino-style table games. Although this is an option for bettors in Iowa, going to an online racebook is far more convenient than going to a physical location. If you go to an offshore site like BetOnline, you will be able to see racebooks from all over the country and make straight and exotic wagers as well. Online racebooks are the best way for you to enjoy horse racing in Iowa.

Daily Fantasy Sports In Iowa

Daily fantasy sports were considered to be illegal in the state prior to the passage of IA SF 617 – the same bill that legalized sports betting in Iowa. Now, operators are eligible to enter the state with a licensed behind their name, allowing residents to enter into both paid and unpaid daily fantasy sports contests. FanDuel and DraftKings are the two biggest daily fantasy operators in the country, so you better believe nobody took the news better than these gaming companies.

Legal Iowa Sports Betting FAQ’s

Can I Bet Real Money On Sports In Iowa?

Yes. After all, money is the best thing to use. In fact, it’s the only thing to use! With various sports wagering venues and services about the state, you will find a plethora of sportsbooks that are willing to accept your action. Keep in mind that the majority of these books are supplied and operated by different companies, meaning if you want to increase your chances to win real money at an Iowa sportsbook, you should shop lines to find the best price around.

Is Online Sports Betting Safe In Iowa?

If you do it via a future state-sanctioned site or use a reputable offshore sportsbook, online Iowa sports betting is 100% safe. Because Bovada and its main competitors all use state-of-the-art encryption and data security protocols, you can rest easy knowing that hackers and scammers will have a really difficult time getting into your account. To date, there’s never been any data breach of consequence among the big online sportsbooks, and these companies all have a vested interest in keeping your money safe and accessible on their end.

Will Sports Betting In Iowa Ever Be Legal?

In fact, it already is! On May 13, 2019, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed IA SF 617 into law. It only took the state a few months to approve the bill, create regulations, and launch an industry. Many other states should take notice of government efficiency like this! Sports betting in Iowa launched on August 15, 2019, but the use of offshore sports betting sites are still legal, despite the state having their own industry as well.

Will I Get Arrested For Sports Betting In Iowa?

Almost certainly not. Internet sports bettors are not at much risk to be victimized by the government, and to date, there are no reports of anyone in Iowa ever being arrested for betting on sports with an online sportsbook. However, if you’re overly concerned about the (exceedingly slim) possibility, you can always deposit using Bitcoin for greater anonymity and peace of mind. While local legal options are rolling out in IA, it is unlikely that any of them will support Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. For maximum anonymity and privacy, online offshore sportsbooks remain better than state-based options.

What Is the Sports Betting Age In Iowa?

According to SF 617, the minimum legal age at which one can wager on sports in Iowa is 21 years old. This goes for both state-licensed online sportsbooks and land-based sportsbooks in area casinos. While offshore books will accept members at just 18 years of age, it’s important to defer to explicit state laws re age. This means that even if you sign up at an overseas sports betting site, you’ll want to be at least 21 before you do so. Gambling underage can run afoul of both IA law and offshore books’ terms of service, and you definitely don’t want to do either, as both are expensive mistakes.

Are There Mobile Sports Betting Apps Available In Iowa?

To date, there are no official apps for Bovada et al. on Google Play or in the App Store. If you want to have a reasonably smooth mobile experience when enjoying legal Iowa sports betting, you still can. Bovada, SportsBetting, BetOnline, and 5Dimes have all developed mobile versions of their websites for this purpose. Just visit these sites on your smartphone or tablet, save the landing page to your device’s home screen, and use that as a so-called “web app” to access your betting account and wager options quickly and efficiently. That said, state-licensed Iowa mobile sportsbooks have official apps that you can download from the App Store and Google Play.

Where Is The Best Place To Bet On Sports In Iowa?

In our eyes, the internet is always the best place to bet on sports in Iowa. Between the convenience of being able to shop lines all at once, not having to visit a sportsbook, and being able to be comfortable in your own home, there isn’t much to improve this situation. However, if being amongst the crowd at a sportsbook is for you, there are plenty of land-based venues for you to choose from. Each of them has their own benefits and drawbacks, so use our reviews of each book to see which one is best for you.

Should I Use A Local Bookie In Iowa?

Not even once. Remember, even though IA just legalized sports betting within its borders, bookmakers still have to be licensed and regulated by the state if they do business on Iowa soil. (Offshore books are exempt from this requirement.) A local bookie accepting bets within the state of Iowa would be knowingly violating several serious state laws and you could easily get caught up in that mess. And if you get caught and have to clean up that mess, your legal expenses will likely outweigh all of your combined winnings. Sports betting is about probabilities and odds, and taking such a big risk on a local bookie simply isn’t worth it. Save your money, enjoy your freedom, and bet at an online sportsbook or state-licensed venue instead.

Do Any Casinos In Iowa Have Sports Betting?

There are 19 active casinos in Iowa and they offer the gamut of the familiar card and table games as well as sports betting. Almost half of the casinos launched their sportsbook on the state’s opening day, August 15, 2019, but sportsbooks can be found pretty much all over the state. With mobile betting, these platforms are associated with these casinos and are exactly what you would find if you visited the land-based counterpart.

Can I Bet On Sports With My Friends In Iowa?

According to Iowa Code § 99B.45, social gaming between individuals is allowed. This includes sports betting and various other “[g]ames of skill and games of chance, except casino-style games other than poker.” There is one caveat to consider, though, and that’s the fact that Iowa has placed a $200 limit on the amount any private person can win from any other(s) over a single 24-hour period. This seems impossible to enforce, but just know that if you win $300 off some sourpuss by picking the Packers over the Vikings, he can go to the police and get them to make you give him back his money. Betting with losers is fun. Betting with sore losers, not so much.