Ready For The Super Bowl? 888 Sportsbook Gets Final Stamp Of Approval; Online Launch Imminent

Posted on January 26, 2021 - Last Updated on March 2, 2021

The continuing rollout of new online sports betting apps in Iowa doesn’t look like it will slow down anytime soon. Last week, the final regulatory hurdle for 888 Sportsbook became a thing of the past, opening the door for what could be the state’s next operator.

The Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission gave approval to 888’s operating agreement with Catfish Bend Casino last week. The commission also approved an adjustment that may lead to sports betting at the state’s lone inactive licensee.

Two Iowa sports betting operator agreements receive OKs

There’s no official word on when 888 Sportsbook will be available in Iowa, but that seems inevitable now. Catfish Bend’s second online skin is 888, meaning the retail sportsbook in Burlington will continue to bear PointsBet branding.

The sportsbook 888 has some competition to become the next IA online sportsbook to go live. Namely, that’s Bally’s, Unibet, Vigtory and WynnBet. Time could be of the essence for all these operators, as the single best day of the year for sports betting is upcoming.

Super Bowl LV is certainly an event that is prime for going live, but it’s also less than two weeks away. Tailoring the online product to meet the regulations and laws in Iowa may take more time than launching before Sunday, Feb. 7, allows.

When 888 goes live in the Hawkeye State, it will be the second US market for the UK-based book. It currently operates in New Jersey, although it has secured market access to other jurisdictions.

The operator agreement between 888 and Catfish Bend wasn’t the only item on the commission’s agenda. The other item of relevance for sports betting should be of interest to Iowans who live near Marquette.

Casino Queen, Vigtory Sportsbook expand partnership

In November, Vigtory Sportsbook secured market access into IA through a contract with the Casino Queen in Marquette. To date, that’s the only one of the 19 casinos in Iowa to not yet start taking sport bets, either online or in person.

That seems set to change, on both fronts. After fuboTV acquired Vigtory, one of its first orders of business was to modify the contract to include retail sportsbook operations at the casino. Prior to that change, Vigtory only planned to occupy one of the casino’s online skins.

Last Thursday, the IRGC approved the new contract language. Thus, Vigtory has the necessary approval to launch whenever it’s ready.

There’s no official timeline for Vigtory going live either at the casino or online in IA just yet. There’s even more uncertainty because of fuboTV’s acquisition of the brand. It’s no foregone conclusion that fuboTV will keep the Vigtory branding and name for its sports betting product.

Either way, the number of operators in the works in Iowa continues to grow. Vigtory and 888 seem like the next two in line, with Super Bowl Sunday looming as a tempting time to do so.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Chicago. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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