Newcomers Bet365, DRF Sports, SI Sportsbook Work Toward Iowa Debut

Posted By Russ Mitchell on July 20, 2021

Bet365, a major player in the international sports betting market, could have a very local presence soon.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) approved a contract between the sportsbook and Casino Queen Marquette at its July 15 meeting in Altoona.

Casino Queen is the only casino in the Hawkeye State still without Iowa sports betting on its menu, but soon it will have two sportsbooks.

IRGC administrator Brian Ohorilko said:

“This will be Casino Queen’s second skin with an expected launch date sometime in the fall. Bet365 will still need to go through the licensing process, and the commission will learn more through that due diligence.”

It isn’t live yet, but Casino Queen already has an agreement in place to offer the Fubo Sportsbook (formerly Vigtory Sportsbook). The IRGC approved some branding adjustments for Fubo and the Marquette casino at its June meeting.

Bet365 history

Bet365 Sportsbook is still fairly new in the United States. It went live in New Jersey two years ago and reached an agreement in Colorado one year ago.

Its international ties date back 21 years, however. With annual sportsbook revenues of $4 billion, bet365 considers itself the “world’s largest online sports betting company.” Its markets include Great Britain, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Sweden, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Gibraltar and Australia.

Bet365 had more than 4,600 employees at the time of its Colorado launch.

Sports Illustrated sportsbook makes progress in Iowa

Another Mississippi River casino is a step closer to a new sportsbook launch as well. IRGC members approved adjustments to Catfish Bend Casino’s 888 sportsbook partnership. The operator 888 Holdings will launch the app as SI Sportsbook at the Burlington casino instead.

Ohorilko said:

“That was an amendment to allow for their current partner to use different brand names, specifically the brand name SI or Sports Illustrated.”

The IRGC review was a formality, according to Ohorilko. He said there was no changes in terms among the state, Catfish Bend Casino and SI Sportsbook:

“Right now, the DCI is finishing their investigation, or at least their background (check). We haven’t received the results yet. But that process had already started and they were a month into the licensing process with that company.”

DRF Sports to replace William Hill at Lakeside

Lakeside Casino customers who like to place sports bets will notice a change soon. The retail sportsbook brand in Osceola will switch from William Hill Iowa Sportsbook to DRF Sports.

Affinity Gaming operates both Lakeside Casino and DRF Sports. Ohorilko said:

“DRF will be managing the retail sports betting. We’re a little unclear yet on the timeline. Currently, William Hill is is managing their retail sportsbook at Lakeside. So we would expect some transition to take place.”

In June, the IRGC reviewed the Sports Information Group (SIG) contract with Lakeside Hotel Casino to launch a sportsbook from Osceola. That’s the company behind the 127-year-old Daily Racing Form. Odds and live scores are free through the website, but exclusive stat trends, matchup information and game forecasts require a subscription.

Lakeside can keep both William Hill and DRF Sports as remote sports betting options. Iowa casinos can carry up to three distinct sportsbook brands.

Photo by Dreamstime.com
Russ Mitchell Avatar
Written by
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.

View all posts by Russ Mitchell