Iowa Gambling and Sports Betting News

Latest on sports betting, online gambling and lottery in the Hawkeye State

Iowans now have multiple options for legal online gambling. Here at PlayIA.com, we cover the latest news, sports betting bonuses and reviews for online gambling in Iowa. Alongside daily fantasy sports (DFS), you can legally bet at retail sportsbooks and via sports betting apps in the Hawkeye State.

As of Jan. 1, 2021, you no longer need to visit an Iowa casino to create an online sports betting account. By clicking on one of our links, you can visit a legal online sportsbook of your choice, download and create an account.

Best online sportsbooks in Iowa

Rank
Sportsbook
Bonus
Features
Play
1
UP TO $1,050 FREE
New User Bonus. T&Cs Apply.
Baseball Special Bet $1, Win $100 (PA Excluded)
Up to $50 Matched Free Bet on Deposit
Up to $1,000 Deposit Bonus
To Claim: Click Play Now
2
$500
Risk Free Bet
Up To $500 Risk Free Bet On First Deposit
Weekly Betting Promos
Use Promo Code: LEGALRF
3
$1,000
Risk Free Bet
Up to $1,000 refund if you lose your first bet
Available on Desktop, Android & iOS
To Claim: Click Play Now
4
$600
Risk Free Bet
$600 Risk Free Bet
$10 Free Weekly Bet
Use Bonus Code: PLAYBONUS
5
up to $1,015 free 
Sign Up Bonus
$15 Free Bet just for joining
100% Wager Match up to $1,000 
MUST USE PROMO CODE BFS15
Promo code is CASE SENSITIVE
6
$2,000
In Free Bets On Deposit
Get 2 Risk-Free Bets Up to $2,000
Use Promo Code: BETBONUS

Legal Gambling Options in Iowa

Online Sports Betting

Major sports betting brands, including PointsBet, William Hill and FanDuel, have partnerships with brick-and-mortar casinos in Iowa. They provide access to a range of sports betting options via mobile apps, websites or at the land-based casino.

You’ll be able to bet on single games, add multiple wagers into a parlay bet or take advantage of innovations such as in-game and cash-out betting.

Online Lottery

The Iowa Lottery includes several draws, including Pick 3 and Pick 4 games. The biggest prizes are available via multi-state draws, including the Powerball and Mega Millions. The IA Lottery raises money to assist veterans and their families, the environment, infrastructure and community projects. It’s been running since 1985 and includes a website portal in addition to retail kiosks.

Retail Sports Betting

Retail sportsbooks are operating at many of Iowa’s major casinos. Many use the expertise of the major sports betting brands. Expect walls of HD TVs for watching games, and staff to be on hand to take you through the details of sports betting. Many retail sportsbooks have food and beverage options.

Daily Fantasy Sports

With daily fantasy sports contests legal alongside sports betting, picks contests are live in Iowa. Major brands, including DraftKings and FanDuel, offer DFS contests. Unlike sports betting, you are not betting on individual games. Instead, DFS contests involve picking line-ups of players, which compete against other people’s picks in tournament or head-to-head contests.

Casinos and Gambling

While there are no state-regulated online casinos in Iowa; however, there are options under sweepstakes rules. Popular sites, including LuckyLand Slots and Chumba Casino, operate nationally, using a virtual currency called “Sweeps Cash.” You can enjoy slots (some with progressive jackpots), plus limited table games and keno options. “Sweeps Coins” are available for free.

Poker

Iowa has not introduced an online poker bill, nor is internet poker up for discussion. Iowa players have a variety of local poker rooms to choose from in addition to sweepstakes-style sites.

Global Poker uses sweepstakes gambling laws. This site operates nationally and welcomes credit card payments. Like the sweepstakes casinos, you can receive free “Sweeps Coins” by entering into contests or requesting them by mail.

Iowa gambling and the law

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the sports betting bill SF 617 into law on May 15, 2019.

It set out a licensing framework for both retail and online sportsbooks. Each of Iowa’s 23 riverboat and land-based casinos can apply for two online sportsbook licenses. The low taxation on gambling revenue ensures that there will be plenty of competition in the Hawkeye State.

To gamble legally in Iowa, you need to be at least 21 years or older. You don’t need to be a permanent resident, though you must be present within state lines to bet.

Here are some key details from SF 617:

  • Each Iowa casino can apply for one retail and two online sportsbook licenses.
  • The license fee is $45,000.
  • Revenue is taxed at 6.75%.
  • Betting on Iowa collegiate sports teams is allowed.
  • Prop betting on college athletes is not allowed.
  • Daily fantasy sports is regulated alongside sports betting.

Iowa Online Gambling FAQ

Can I bet on sports online in Iowa?

Yes, bill SF 617 licensed online sports betting in May 2019. William Hill was the first sportsbook operator to launch. You can legally bet on pro sports, college sports and a range of international fixtures in Iowa.

Furthermore, you must be 21 years or older and within the state lines to place sports bets in Iowa. Online sportsbooks use geolocation technology to ensure wagering is done legally.

As of Jan. 1, 2021, you can completely register for an online sports betting from anywhere within the state of Iowa.

What kind of sports can I bet on?

In Iowa, you can bet on major pro leagues, individual sports and college action; however, you can’t make prop bets on collegiate athletes.

You can wager on NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB games, including soccer, boxing, MMA, golf, tennis, rugby and cricket. Depending on which sportsbook app you choose, there will also be a long list of niche and international sports from which to choose.

Do I need to live in Iowa to bet online?

No, you don’t need to be an Iowa resident to register for an online sports betting account.  It isn’t possible to place sports wagers at an online Iowa sportsbooks from outside state lines.

What kind of bets can I place online?

Betting apps give you access to the range of single and multiple bets and entertaining side bets (props). There are also innovative types available, including in-play and cash-out bets.

Here is the list of the popular bet types:

  • Futures
  • Moneylines
  • Parlays
  • Period betting
  • Proposition bets
  • Round robins
  • Spreads
  • Teasers (alternative spreads)
  • Totals (over/unders)

Note, there are many more wagering options that are sports-specific.

How do I fund my online sportsbook account?

When you deposit at regulated sportsbooks, you’ll have access to several deposit methods. Options include debit cards, bank transfers, e-wallets and cash options (via the casino cage or retail stores).

Many online sports betting brands offer a prepaid debit card that you can use for deposits and withdrawals.

Is it safe to bet at offshore sportsbooks?

No, offshore sites are risky. With regulated sites in Iowa, you won’t be putting your bankroll in jeopardy. Licensed sites offer protection for your money and a way to deliver complaints (via the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission).

By contrast, the offshore sites don’t offer oversight and are based on the Caribbean Islands. If you have a dispute, or if the site shuts down and takes your bankroll with it, you have zero recourse. It is best to avoid these offshore sites.

Are online casinos legal in Iowa?

There are options for legal online casino games, though these are national sites and not part of bill SF 617.

Sweepstakes casinos operate in 49 states using sweepstakes laws. Essentially, every spin or hand is a mini sweepstakes contest. You play using the virtual currency called “Sweeps Cash,” which you can exchange into dollars and withdrawn if you win.

To stay legal, casinos such as LuckyLand Slots can’t sell you “Sweeps Cash” directly. Instead, you get this for free by buying “Gold Coins,” entering social media contests or sending a letter to a registered address.

Resources

How to download betting apps

Several sportsbooks are licensed for online betting in Iowa, which gives you a choice of bonuses and promotions. You can find out more about these on our sportsbook bonuses page.

Once you read our sportsbook reviews and have chosen a brand (or two), the next step is to decide how to access the betting site. You can download the sportsbook’s app or use your web browser:

  • Android Phones/Tablets: You must download the sports betting app directly from a sportsbook’s website because gambling apps aren’t allowed in the Google Play Store. This method is safe despite needing to click through warnings that the app is from an “unknown source.”
  • Apple iPhones/iPads: Sports betting operators in Iowa will have apps in the Apple App Store. You can also follow a link from the websites.
  • Website Version: The browser-based sportsbooks are the only option for desktop computers and laptops. You can also access web-based sportsbooks from your phone. All the sites use responsive design, so they automatically adjust to your screen size.

How to fund your account

Depositing using cash at the casino cage is one of many ways to fund your sports betting account. The biggest advantage of regulated gambling sites in Iowa is you can deposit securely; however, Iowa law states you cannot deposit using your credit card. Here are the mainstream banking options:

  • ACH/e-check
  • Bank wire
  • Bill pay
  • Branded prepaid debit card
  • Cash at the cage
  • Cashier’s check
  • Debit cards
  • E-wallets: PayPal, Skrill or Neteller
  • Money order
  • PayNearMe at 7-Eleven stores

Why choose a regulated betting site?

When you choose a legal, regulated site, your money will be safe. While this is the main reason to choose Iowa betting sites, you’ll also find a better experience.

It starts with the brands. Names like William Hill, DraftKings and FanDuel have years of experience in sports betting. Their technology is simple to use. With a depth of betting markets and bet types unrivaled offshore, you’ll have much more choice.

When it comes to depositing and withdrawing, the choice of a regulated site over an offshore one becomes a no-brainer. Instead diving into the world of cryptocurrency or expensive gift card purchases, you can use regular payment options. With bank cards, cash and simple electronic transfers all available, you’ll be sure your deposits and withdrawals are fast and safe.

Finally, offshore sites have no oversight. In the past, gambling operators have disappeared, taking the entire bankroll of thousands of players. With regulated Iowa sites, your money is safe. In the event of a dispute, you can complain to the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission.

Retail sportsbooks in Iowa

You’ll find a number of sportsbooks around the state at riverboat and land-based casinos. Many of these include major betting brands, like William Hill or FanDuel. This list includes Iowa casinos and their online sportsbook operators:

  • Ameristar Casino, Council Bluffs (retail only)
  • Catfish Bend Casino, Burlington: PointsBet Sportsbook
  • Diamond Jo casinos, Dubuque and Northwood: FanDuel Sportsbook
  • Grand Falls Casino, Larchwood: Betfred Sports and Elite Sportsbook
  • Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Sioux City: Hard Rock Sportsbook
  • Harrah’s, Council Bluffs: William Hill Sportsbook
  • Horseshoe Casino, Council Bluffs: William Hill Sportsbook
  • Isle casinos, Bettendorf and Waterloo: William Hill Sportsbook
  • Lakeside Hotel Casino, Osceola: William Hill Sportsbook
  • Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino, Altoona: William Hill Sportsbook
  • Q Casino, Dubuque: Q Sportsbook
  • Rhythm City Casino, Davenport: Elite Sportsbook
  • Riverside Casino & Golf Resort, Riverside: Elite Sportsbook
  • Wild Rose Casino, Clinton, Emmetsburg and Jefferson: DraftKings and BetRivers sportsbooks

Responsible gaming in Iowa

Protection and assistance for people who develop issues with gambling are baked into Iowa’s gaming laws. Responsible gambling awareness, links to support organizations and tools to manage time and spending limits are available online.

You will find that all reputable gambling brands take responsible gaming seriously. Many have detailed resource pages and a range of tools available. Here is what to expect:

  • Information about problem gambling and examples of self-assessment questions.
  • Links and phone numbers for local and national help organizations, including the National Council on Problem Gambling.
  • The ability to set limits for bet sizes, deposit amounts and total wagered during a set time period. This can prevent bettors from “chasing losses.”
  • The ability to set up time-out periods for short or longer periods. Gamblers can also self-exclude permanently.