WinnaVegas has not yet opened their sportsbook.

  • Two Tribal sportsbooks in Iowa are being further delayed from opening as casinos have been shut down in the state due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
  • The sports betting scene in Iowa has been generating millions in revenue since its launch in August 2019.

DES MOINES, IowaBlackbird Bend and WinnaVegas casinos have not yet opened their sportsbooks in Iowa after experiencing a number of delays.

In May 2019, Governor Kim Reynolds made sports betting legal in the state and the first sports betting locations opened as early as August 2019. But Blackbird and WinnaVegas continue to hit roadblocks in their quests to open up their casino sportsbook expansions.

Tribal and commercial casinos in Iowa have to go through different processes in order to launch their sportsbooks.

Commercial casinos only need to deal with the rules of the regulated sports betting market to do business. Meanwhile, Tribal casinos need to do that as well as make sure their Tribal gaming compacts are being honored as well.

This is what has led to delays for the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska’s WinnaVegas location and Omaha Tribe’s Blackbird Bend. They originally were planning an opening for the NFL 2019 season.

Since their original timeline did not pan out, early 2020 was another option. But now with the quarantines and the overall long-term absence of major professional and collegiate sporting events, the delays will further continue.

The Coronavirus pandemic has caused casinos in the state to close for a minimum of two weeks, with a possible reopening in April. Blackbird Bend casino recently addressed the delay of their sports betting lounge.

“It is still in the works, pending additional legal review of the contracts associated with that additional business venture. The current suspension of professional and college sports and all of the uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic has evoked gives us further pause in the process, of making sure we develop the best possible sports betting options for our guests,” said Mike Krysl, a spokesman for Blackbird Bend.

Both WinnaVegas and Blackbird Bend casinos will continue to discuss the launching of their sportsbooks in Iowa while the casinos remain closed.

With the state of the sports world and the current quarantines, opening a sports betting operation during this time may not be ideal but both companies are looking to finally get their long-awaited businesses off the ground.

“The current pandemic closure crisis has had a very chilling, jarring impact on that success,” said Krysl.

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