Each month, when the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) issued its sports wagering report, the column under Casino Queen Marquette was empty. It didn’t have a partner to take sports bets in Iowa.
As of Thursday, the northeast Iowa casino’s website offers sign-ups for Fubo Sportsbook. The launch means all 19 Iowa casinos now have remote sports wagering agreements.
However, Fubo’s launch is a bit limited for the time being.
Fubo Sportsbook is live, but not available to everyone
Deliah Mathieu, Fubo Gaming’s communications manager, told PlayIA the sportsbook plans to reach more Iowa customers with additional features by the end of the year:
“Fubo Gaming is soft-launching its Fubo Sportsbook among a small, controlled group of sports fans in Iowa in conjunction with our partner Casino Queen. We’re looking forward to fully launching Fubo Sportsbook in the fourth quarter 2021 so more sports fans can experience our innovative mobile sportsbook. This app does not currently include all of the functionalities and features as we prepare for the full launch.”
Mathieu said Fubo plans for its sportsbook to deliver a distinct “hyper-personalized” experience. It will integrate the sportsbook with its sports-first live TV streaming platform, fuboTV. The goal is to turn passive fuboTV viewers into “active, engaged participants” through its “Watching Now” feature.
Vigtory acquisition brought Fubo to Iowa
Chicago-based Vigtory Sportsbook gained access to the Iowa market through a contract with the Casino Queen in November. Fubo Gaming then acquired Vigtory in January as a complement to its live-streaming fuboTV platform.
The sportsbook received permission to go live in Iowa at the end of August, according to a company statement.
Fubo Gaming president Scott Butera said:
“As we enter the mobile sports betting market, we couldn’t be more excited to kick off this journey in Iowa. We thank the IRGC and Casino Queen for being the perfect partner in helping us cross the goal line and bring this sportsbook to the passionate sports fans of Iowa.”
Fubo becomes 14th sportsbook in Iowa
Sportsbook operators could offer regulated sports betting in Iowa with the passage of SF 617 in May 2019.
At first, sports bettors needed to visit one of Iowa’s brick-and-mortar casinos to activate their online accounts in order to enjoy mobile sports betting. That requirement came to an end at the start of 2021.
Casino Queen Marquette has room to grow in Iowa’s sports betting market, too. Each of Iowa’s 19 casinos can carry up to three distinct sportsbook brands, called “skins.”
The switch from Vigtory to Fubo Gaming at Casino Queen likely wasn’t difficult, based on IRGC administrator Brian Ohorilko’s past remarks:
“If the sportsbook does intend to launch in Iowa, that agreement would need formal commission approval. So, it would need to be submitted, it would need to be published for viewing on an agenda. The public can look at that, then it would be acted on at a subsequent meeting. There are other things, such as an ownership change, or maybe just even a change of key officers or rebranding. Those types of things, typically just require disclosure.”
The IRGC administrator said those disclosures can come in the form of a letter or an update of a sportsbook’s previously approved application.