Just In Case: PlayUp Secures Iowa Online Casino Agreement

Written By Russ Mitchell on October 26, 2021

If Iowa moves forward with online casino legislation, PlayUp and Wild Rose Entertainment will already have a pact in place to launch the gaming option.

On Tuesday, the Australian gaming operator announced its agreement with the company behind Iowa’s Wild Rose casinos.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) approved PlayUp’s contract with Caesars Entertainment to take sports wagering through Horseshoe Council Bluffs. However, the company has yet to go live with sports betting in Iowa.

The operator wants its PlayUp Sportsbook to go live in Iowa within the first half of next year, if not sooner. The sportsbook went live in Colorado and New Jersey this year.

Online casino gaming is further down the road, but multiple gaming companies want to be ready if Iowa lawmakers legalize it.

Iowa may be cautious about online casino bets

PointsBet and DraftKings, which offer sports betting in Iowa, also have online casino gaming contracts with Iowa casinos. The IRGC approved those market-access agreements at its Aug. 26 meeting.

Iowa General Assembly returns to Des Moines from Jan. 10 to April 19 (or longer if needed) for the 2022 legislative session. Iowa Gaming Association (IGA) president Wes Ehrecke advocates on behalf of Iowa’s 19 casinos leading up to and during the session.

Ehrecke said:

“For some of my casino members, this will be a priority. And for others, it won’t, but I think there will be an ongoing dialogue and communication. This is an issue that will likely take a a bit of time to get an awareness and understanding for.”

He added:

“A subcommittee has to decide whether they want to advance it to the full committee, then out to the floor. So there’s a very methodical process in the legislature, and it is hard to predict if this legislation will get any consideration or movement.”

Iowa House and Senate members will be campaigning in redrawn districts over the summer and fall of 2022. Even within the casino industry, Ehrecke said the issue needs more awareness to get everyone on board.

The IGA president suspects online casino betting may not be a high priority with lawmakers:

“The likelihood of this advancing in 2022 is less than 50% at this time.”

PlayUp Casino wants to be aggressive in the iGaming market

The Wild Rose casinos are in Clinton, Emmetsburg and Jefferson.

Tom Timmons, the president and COO of Wild Rose Entertainment, said Wild Rose looks forward to someday adding online casino wagers:

“The gaming market and consumer demands are always changing. We are proud to have a great partner like PlayUp in our corner to maximize our potential with iGaming should it come to Iowa.”

Dr. Laila Mintas, PlayUp USA CEO, said the company is working on online casino access in New Jersey, too:

“At our core, we are a daily fantasy sports operator. We are proud of these roots and that we are Australia’s number one DFS operator and offer some of the world’s largest DFS prizes. We also view a diverse product portfolio as key to our long-term growth and stability. IGaming is central in that diversification and we are aggressively getting market access in all states that are offering it, or will be offering it in the future.”

PlayUp said it would take an active role in helping to shape Iowa regulations if the opportunity presents itself.

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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.

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