• Australian company PointsBet is the first official bookmaker to sing a deal with an Iowa casino.
  • Sports betting could be legal in Iowa within months with the passage of SF 617.

DES MOINES, Iowa. – Sports betting is not yet legal in Iowa, but one area casino has already made its first big wager. On Monday, the Catfish Bend Casino officially partnered with PointsBet to manage both its on-site and online sports betting products.

While the Catfish Bend Casino – a PZAZZ! property – is an established Iowa mainstay (featuring a casino, two hotels, and an indoor waterpark among its many amenities), PointsBet is a newcomer in its own industry, founded in Australia in 2017.

PointsBet’s new partnership with the Catfish Bend Casino is reported to be a multiyear deal. In addition to handling the online component via its existing betting product, PointsBet will be working with the venue to build the latter’s facility-based Iowa sports betting lounge.

The PointsBet lounge at the Catfish Bend Casino will be located on the main gaming floor. The lounge will include the typical wagering facility amenities, including a sports bar, several HDTVs, a large odds display wall, and more.

The lounge will be a completely non-smoking venue, aligning with the cleaner air initiative undertaken by the Catfish Bend Casino. The gambling destination recently installed sitewide Casino Air technology to ensure a fresh, clean ambience.

PointsBet was recently in the news for launching a new high-roller-friendly product in New Jersey, where $10,000-plus wagers are guaranteed to be accepted for all players in good standing. PointsBet also offers its trademark PointsBetting platform, which pays out wagers depending on how much they win by.

It is unclear if the high-roller option will be on the table in Iowa at the Catfish Bend Casino, but it’s a good bet that PointsBet will bring its entire gamut of services to the Midwest upon launch.

When Will Iowa Sports Betting Be Legal?

Iowa is extremely close to legalizing sports wagering this year, with SF 617 passing out of the Senate by a 31-18 vote last Wednesday.

The bill, if approved by the House (where it appears to have wide bipartisan support), would go to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.

The proposal would allow for a minimum of 22 physical sports wagering venues in the state, as well as statewide sports betting over the Internet.

Additionally, SF 617 would allow each wagering venue to carry two “skins,” which is industry parlance for third-party branded betting products. This means that PointsBet would use up one of the Catfish Bend Casino’s two available skins.

Interestingly, SF 617 bars NCAA prop betting and all minor league wagering, as these two categories have been deemed by Iowa lawmakers to be the ripest avenues for abuse in the legal sports betting marketplace.

If legalized per SF 617, sports betting in the state would be overseen by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

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