New Iowa Sportsbooks Keep Popping Up All Over The State

Written By Derek Helling on September 18, 2019 - Last Updated on December 3, 2019
Iowa sportsbooks popping up

The 2019 college football season is here, and summer is winding down. As farmers in the Hawkeye State prepare to harvest, the list of new Iowa sportsbooks is getting as tall as the corn.

When Iowa sports betting went live on Aug. 15, the hope was that residents and visitors would have many options. Those hopes are being realized as September progresses.

New Iowa sportsbooks at casinos around the state

Eight Iowa casinos opened their retail sportsbooks at their first opportunities. Those casinos are:

  • Ameristar
  • Catfish Bend
  • Isle Bettendorf
  • Isle Waterloo
  • Lakeside
  • Prairie Meadows
  • Rhythm City
  • Riverside

All of those books are running strong. One of the reasons is because, for bettors to place bets online, the law requires them to register in person.

Those aren’t the only casinos in the state, however. Others like the Hard Rock in Sioux City are part of the state’s gaming industry but did not open sportsbooks on launch date.

The Diamond Jo Worth Casino in Northwood opened its FanDuel Sportsbook on Aug. 29. Former Minnesota Vikings player John Randle was present to put down the ceremonial first bet.

Grand Falls Casino in Larchwood opened its Elite Sportsbook on Aug. 31, with plans to renovate another part of the casino and move the sportsbook area there permanently. Grand Falls also plans to shift its partnership to UK-based BetFred in the coming months.

On Sept. 4, the Diamond Jo in Dubuque opened its FanDuel Sportsbook. Former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Antonio Freeman played the same role as Randle, just a day ahead of Green Bay’s 2019-20 season opener.

Coming attractions in northwest Iowa

The Hard Rock Casino sportsbook plans to launch in September. Other casinos in the northwest part of the state like the Blackbird Bend near Onawa and the WinnaVegas in Sloan are likely to be next to the market, with mid-October and mid-September launches planned.

Iowa’s Native American casinos like the Blackbird Bend have been comparatively slow to market compared to their retail competition, with many of them currently lacking any motion toward opening sportsbooks.

While there are plenty of options around the state for Iowa’s inhabitants to place bets in person, the availability of mobile betting has yet to catch up.

Iowa mobile betting options as lean as a bad harvest year

The state will soon have 14 casinos operating physical sportsbooks. The online components attached to those casinos lag behind, however.

At casinos like Burlington’s Catfish Bend, bettors can register for the PointsBet mobile sportsbook. That doesn’t mean the product is actually live in Iowa, however.

Grand Falls’ online partnership with Bet.Works is currently live in Iowa, but that’s more of an exception than the rule. Most casinos in the state have yet to roll out their mobile books.

While there is no legal barrier preventing them from doing so, it’s not as simple as flipping a switch. On top of ensuring the products are in compliance with federal and state laws, rolling out a mobile sportsbook requires a lot of technological infrastructure.

Eventually, however, Iowa will have many online options for bettors. The aforementioned BetFred, FanDuel and PointsBet will likely be joined by theScore, which has a market access deal in place with Penn National Gaming.

Penn National operates Ameristar. Other online operators could come to the state in 2021 when the requirement to register for mobile betting in person fades away.

There’s still some uncertainty as to exactly when all of the possible betting options in Iowa will be operating. With each passing month, more of that potential becomes reality, however.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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