Daily Fantasy Sports in Iowa

Updated on December 20, 2019

Sports fans in Iowa now have a new way to get even closer to the games they love. After a long wait, daily fantasy sports has been legalized in the state. The two biggest operators in the industry have cleared regulatory hurdles and are ready to serve residents in the Hawkeye State.

For the uninitiated, daily fantasy sports brings the traditional fantasy sports experience to an entirely new level. As opposed to season-long leagues which can take months to complete, Daily Fantasy Sports contests can be completed in a single day.

Users can select a new lineup each and every day, and they can play as often or as little as they would like. To further add to the appeal, daily fantasy sports affords users the opportunity to win real money prizes.

Just like in every other market the industry has entered, it won’t be too long before daily fantasy sports is a very big deal in the state of Iowa. For everything you need to know about how to get in on the fun, read on.

Best Daily Fantasy Sports Sites in Iowa

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Is Daily Fantasy Sports Legal In Iowa?

In May 2019, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed bill SF 617 into law. That gave the green light to legalized sports betting in the state of Iowa, and also included language which permitted daily fantasy sports operators to set up shop.

While it was hoped that things would move quickly and that the operators would be up and running for NFL season, it actually took a bit longer than that. DraftKings, the industry’s largest operator, was granted regulatory approval in October 2019.

The second-largest operator, FanDuel, followed and received the go ahead in November 2019. Iowa residents can now take advantage of what these two titans have to offer, just like others across the United States in legalized areas have done.

One important note to keep in mind: for the time being, fantasy sports revolving around college athletics are a no-no in Iowa for the time being. However, that’s expected to change in May 2020.

What Is Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS)?

DFS takes the traditional fantasy sports experience and kicks it up several notches. Contests can be completed in a single day, and users can build their lineups from all players scheduled to compete.

However, it’s not as simple as just picking anyone you want. DFS contests revolve around a salary cap, and your lineup must fit underneath it. That brings a strategic element to the contests which helps to enhance the excitement.

You’ll find DFS contests of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the small to the massive. There are head to head contests in which it’s simply player versus player, as well as huge tournaments which offer the chance to win some large prizes.

On DFS sites, the lobbies are populated with all of the different contests and sports. Users can locate the ones they find most appealing based on different factors such as buy-in amount, put together a lineup, and be all set to play and watch the action unfold.

As the games get underway, players selected for your lineups will earn fantasy points based on their performance. DFS lineups update every step of the way. You can be watching the game on one screen while keeping an eye on another to see how your lineup is doing.

For some background on DFS as a whole, the industry came to be due to language in the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which was signed into law in 2006. The legislation included language which designated fantasy sports as a game of skill.

As such, it was determined that games of this nature were legal to play for real money. Some enterprising folks took the ball from there and the industry was born. What started out as a niche offering has grown to staggering proportions as DFS is still going strong today.

Where Can I Play DFS In Iowa?

The state of Iowa has put operators through their paces before allowing them to set up shop. For now, there are only two places to play DFS in Iowa. Thankfully, they just so happen to the two largest and most popular operators in the industry.

DraftKings – Get $20 Free with 1st Deposit!

Boston-based DraftKings first debuted its DFS platform in 2012. The industry was still approaching its big growth spurt at that point, but users who were already involved quickly took to the site. DraftKings brought several innovations to the table, including a different take on scoring and roster requirements. A few years later, the company was battling for industry dominance. Today, DraftKings is the largest DFS operator in terms of users and prizes offered.

FanDuel – Get $5 Free on Signup!

FanDuel is a New York-based DFS company which was founded in 2009. DFS was in its infancy at that point, and FanDuel was one of the driving forces to bring what was a niche industry into the mainstream. The company hosted the first-ever live DFS final event in 2010 and emerged as the clear leader in the industry. DraftKings caught up after a while, and the two battled for market dominance. That still holds true today with FanDuel secure as industry’s second largest.

DraftKings and FanDuel have similar offerings and games, but there are several nuances which separate the two platforms. They are both available for online and mobile users, and offer games at a wide range of buy-in points for a whole host of sports.

The major differences revolve around scoring and overall complexity. DraftKings has become known as a platform which caters more towards hardcore players, while FanDuel has stuck in its lane of keeping things simple.

Which Sports Can You Play DFS?

In the early days of DFS, games revolved around the major North American team sports. That’s still a big part of the offerings, but there have been a number of innovations through the years.

Today, users can also play DFS on the major individual sports. Here’s a look at the most popular offerings.

NFL DFS

The NFL is the most popular DFS sport. You’ll find the largest contests and prize pools here. Regular fantasy football makes Sunday exciting, but DFS brings it to a different realm. Every touchdown and yard gained leads to DFS scoreboards which light up like Christmas trees.

NBA DFS

NBA has emerged as the clear second most popular option among DFS players. Pro basketball is very high scoring. When combined with DFS, the result is exciting evenings of games which attract scores of users to the major operators to jockey for position on the leaderboard.

NHL DFS

While not quite as popular as the big two of DFS, NHL has a loyal and passionate following in the community. The major operators haven’t been shy about adapting and improving scoring through the years to further enhance the NHL DFS experience.

MLB DFS

In the spring and summer months, MLB rules the landscape in DFS. While strategy is a big part of the game for all sports on the DFS menu, it’s especially true here. Each day is a whole new puzzle to solve from both a hitting and pitching perspective.

Soccer DFS

It took a few years for Soccer to join the DFS landscape, but it’s now fully engrained. Users can find games offered for the major leagues on both DraftKings and FanDuel, as well as special offerings when it comes time for big events such as the World Cup.

Golf DFS

Golf is a newer addition as well. It has quickly become quite popular, and it’s fair to say that the introduction has helped to bolster the popularity of the sport itself. Around major tournaments such as the Masters, you’ll find some of the biggest DFS events of the calendar year

Tennis DFS

Another individual sport which has gained a good deal of traction in DFS circles, Tennis is also attracting new players to the game. While the bigger tournaments such as Wimbledon gain most of the attention, there are plenty of smaller events which keep the action going all year.

UFC DFS

A big UFC fight night can dominate the attention of the sports world. When you add DFS to the mix, you take an exciting event such as that and make it even better. Users build their lineups from fighters on the card and get to watch their lineups along with the action in the octagon.

Nascar DFS

Nascar fans have been flocking to the major DFS sites for the chance to win real money prizes while enjoying the races. This falls underneath the niche umbrella in terms of overall DFS interest level, but there are plenty of loyal and devoted users playing every event available.

eSports DFS

Some may be surprised to learn that there’s actually DFS for eSports, but it’s a very real thing. It’s not offered everywhere, but DraftKings offers games surrounding League of Legends, which is one of the most popular leagues within the eSports community.

Beyond those listed up above, you’ll also find DFS games on DraftKings offered for Arena Football, the Canadian Football League, EuroLeague Basketball, and the European golf tour.

In addition, both DraftKings and FanDuel offer DFS for College Basketball and College Football, but those two games won’t be available to play for Iowa residents until 2020.

What DFS Contests Are Available In Iowa?

There are a number of different ways to play daily fantasy sports. At its most basic form, there are games that pit user versus user with the top score winning. On the other end of the spectrum, there are huge tournaments available which attract tens of thousands of users competing for some eye-popping grand prizes. Here’s a closer look at the major types of games you’ll find.

  • Tournaments: Also known as guaranteed prize pools, these are the largest DFS events in which users compete in a bid to win some big prizes. For major tournaments during NFL season, there are actually tournaments with grand prizes of a whopping $1 million.
  • 50/50s and Double Ups: For these contests, users are also competing against a whole host of other players, but the goal isn’t to have the highest scoring lineup. You nearly need to build a lineup which performs better than up to half of the field to earn prizes.
  • Multipliers: Similar to 50/50s and DoubleUps, you’re looking to beat out the majority of the field as opposed to taking down one of the top spots. Prizes for these contests are based upon a multiple of user entry fees, such as two times or three times.
  • Satellites and Qualifiers: These are tournament-style events in which the prizes are tickets to larger events or qualifying tickets for a final. Contests for live final events are extremely competitive and very tough to win, but they attract a ton of interest in DFS circles.
  • Head to Heads: This is the form of DFS which most closely resembles season-long fantasy sports. It’s user versus user with the highest score winning. Players enter this game at the denomination of their choice and nearly double the entry fee with the difference going to the operator as rake.
  • Single Game DFS: The classic form of DFS revolves around an entire slate of games in the various sports. For Single Game DFS, it’s just one of the contests on the docket for users to focus on. The lineups are smaller and lineup choices are limited, but the opportunity for big prizes is still there.

Other DFS Contests

You’ll find other ways to play on the major operators. On FanDuel, there’s a Beat the Score game in which the goal for users is to beat a benchmark number of fantasy points. Those who successfully do so win prizes.

Over on DraftKings, there’s a Tiers game which takes the lineup building and salary cap out of the equation. Users simply pick one player from each tier to form their lineup. This type of game can be a great way for those new to DFS to get started.