Barstool Sportsbook Looks To Take A Seat At Iowa Sports Betting Table

Posted on January 30, 2021

The menu of online sportsbooks in Iowa could be on the verge of expanding further.

Barstool Sportsbook is looking to expand its partnership with Ameristar Casino Council Bluffs for its first online foothold in the state.

Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission (IRGC) Administrator Brian Ohorilko said he first became aware of Ameristar’s interest in a Barstool online partnership in the fall of 2020. The Ameristar sportsbook’s website currently shows Barstool branding and a link to its live sportsbook in Pennsylvania.

However, as of Friday afternoon, Barstool has yet to submit an application to the commission in Iowa.

A first for Ameristar, but not for Council Bluffs

The two Council Bluffs casinos — Horseshoe and Harrah’s — are partners with William Hill Sportsbook, which is a major player in the Iowa sports betting market.

In an interview Friday afternoon, Ohorilko said:

“Ameristar Casino is actually just one of two casinos in Iowa that does not have an online sports wagering partner right now, but all indications are that it will be Barstool once they gain a license.

“Barstool would need to put in an application — actually apply for a license — and that hasn’t happened yet. When they do that, they will work with our staff to complete various controls. Those controls really deal with everything within our rules. That would range from: What tools do they have for problem gambling? Are they connected to the self-exclusion database and are they equipped to do that? Are the players’ accounts safe and secure? Is the technology certified by an independent test lab? Does the geolocation work properly? Those are some examples of things our folks look at.”

When will Barstool Sportsbook Iowa launch?

The Barstool Sportsbook app recently became available in Michigan, where online sports betting went live one week ago. Barstool is live in Colorado, Pennsylvania and will launch in Indiana.

That could help fast-track Barstool’s arrival in Iowa. Once the IRGC receives an application, the approval process could take “anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.” Ohorilko continued:

“If the parties are motivated to get controls and to get their technology certified, that process may not take very long at all. The background process does typically take a few months; however, the commission can — and has with every other sports company that’s been licensed in another state — issue a temporary license.”

The temporary license gives sportsbooks a window to operate while the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation completes background checks on Barstool stakeholders.

“The commission should be able to issue a temporary license, so long as they’re in good standing with those other states,” Ohorilko said.

If Barstool’s license is gets an OK, the Casino Queen Marquette would be the only Iowa casino without a live online sportsbook. Don’t blink — Vigtory Sportsbook has cleared regulatory hurdles, and plans to launch at Casino Queen this year.

“These next few months, I think the market will expand significantly here,”  Ohorilko said. “And then it will settle again.”

Photo by Nati Harnik / AP
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Russ Mitchell

Russ Mitchell has been covering news and sports in northwest Iowa since 1997, including 11 years as managing editor for one of the most acclaimed community newspapers in the state. He looks forward to keeping readers up to date on the growing sportsbook industry in Iowa.

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