How Would Live Dealer Games Play Out If Iowa Legalizes Online Casinos?

Written By Dan Holmes on July 13, 2023 - Last Updated on August 31, 2023
Live dealer poker could be part of online casinos if Iowa legalizes them.

The debate over Iowa online casinos appears to be heating up. It could be live dealer games, however, that emerge as the most popular aspect of a potential new gaming market in Iowa.

If the Iowa Legislature passes a bill to legalize online casinos, it could contain provisions for live dealer poker, an activity that’s proved wildly popular elsewhere in the US.

With live dealer poker, players log in to an app or casino betting site and join a game where they see a live person via video feed dealing the poker hands in real-time. In this way, the dealer can interact with players from across the state, or in some cases, in multiple states.

The result is a rich, competitive, potentially profitable table game for players in Iowa.

Live dealer poker: How it works

While Iowa prohibits online casinos and live online poker, it does offer sweepstakes poker. It doesn’t involve real money betting, but players can win prizes at places like Sweeptastic.

Live dealer online poker is a form of online poker that replicates the experience of playing in a brick-and-mortar casino. It combines the convenience of online play with the presence of a human dealer. Here’s how it typically works:

Online casino platform

To participate in live dealer online poker, you need to join a reputable online casino that offers this service. As mentioned above, Iowa has not legalized this activity.

Live streaming technology

The Internet casino utilizes live streaming technology to broadcast the poker game in real-time. Multiple cameras are strategically placed around the poker table to capture different angles and provide a comprehensive view of the game.

Professional dealers

Trained and professional human dealers host the live poker games. They facilitate the gameplay and interact with the players through video and audio feeds. You can communicate with the dealer via a chat feature.

Game selection

The casino offers various types of live dealer poker games, such as Texas Hold ’em, Omaha, Stud, or other popular variations. Any future Iowa gaming law would spell out which games are allowed in the state.

Placing bets

Once you’ve joined a live dealer poker table, you will be able to see the virtual poker table interface overlaid on the live video feed. You place bets and make decisions by using the virtual buttons and features provided on the screen.


The dealer will deal physical cards from a real deck, just like in a land-based casino. The cards are scanned electronically to ensure that the digital representation is accurate and visible to all players. You can see your cards, the community cards, and the dealer’s cards on your screen.


You can interact with the dealer and other players through a chat feature, allowing you to converse, ask questions or make comments during the game. The dealer will respond verbally or via chat, maintaining a social aspect of the gameplay.

Game outcome

Once the hand is completed, the dealer will determine the winners and distribute the winnings accordingly. The outcome is determined based on standard poker rules and hand rankings.

Reputable online casinos employ strict security measures to ensure fairness in the live dealer games. They use certified random number generators to determine card distribution and employ auditors to monitor the games for integrity.

Live dealer games are revolutionizing the online gambling experience. It offers the opportunity to enjoy real-time interaction with human dealers, replicate the atmosphere of a land-based casino and engage in competitive poker gameplay with players from around the world.

Competitive advantage if online casino offers live dealer games

If Iowa legalizes online casinos and live dealer games, those casino apps and sites that offer the game will have an edge on the competition. Typically, the casino apps that have the best streaking technology and most sophisticated poker room experience online get the most customers. In addition, the variety of games offered live to players in Iowa could impact the online casino they choose.

If one legal online casino offers high-quality, live casino dealer games and another legal online casino doesn’t offer the same quality of product, or as many live dealer games, the former will get more customers.

Great training ground for real-world poker playing

Some poker players, especially those new to a competitive game, will use online live dealer poker rooms to train for playing at a brick-and-mortar casino. That’s a good reason to download iGaming or online casino apps.

In other states, such as Michigan and Pennsylvania, where live dealer poker is available, the top online casinos are WynnBET Casino, BetMGM Casino, and Pokerstars, among others. Registration for the sites is free, and promotional offers make it easy to use them as testing grounds before going to casinos to play poker at a real table.

When will online casinos and live online poker be available in Iowa?

Earlier in 2023, for the second consecutive year, a legislator introduced a bill that would legalize iGaming in Iowa. State Rep. Bobby Kauffman, a Republican from Wilton, has written and sponsored a bill in the last two sessions that would expand Iowa gaming to include slots and table games online. However, not enough support has emerged as of yet to have a vote. Governor Kim Reynolds, also a Republican, has not yet taken a formal position on internet gaming.

Given the lukewarm response from state legislators in recent years to the subject, the legalization of online casino gaming in The Hawkeye State seems to be an uphill battle. However, other states have taken quick action to pass bills legalizing iGaming, most prominently Delaware. All it takes is a few lawmakers to throw their support to the measure, and Iowa could see a new gaming market. Kauffman admits that any movement wouldn’t take place until 2024.

If Iowa does see the advent of online casino gaming in the future, it’s likely top brands like Pokerstars, BetMGM, Golden Nugget, and FanDuel would venture to join the market. Some of those operators already have sportsbooks in the state.

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Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes writes about sports betting, sports media, and sports betting legislative matters. He's the author of three books, and previously reported for Major League Baseball, as well as the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

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