Iowa sports betting is here.
Since the passage of SF 617 in May 2019, legal sportsbook operators offer regulated sports betting in the Hawkeye State. Online sportsbook giants, including DraftKings, FanDuel, Elite, PointsBet and William Hill, all call Iowa home. Of course, there are several retail sportsbooks, too.
As of Jan. 1, 2021, sports bettors in Iowa no longer need to visit a retail casino to create an online sports betting account. You can now download and create an account anywhere within the state of Iowa.
UPDATED: April 9, 2021
Iowa sportsbooks crushed a single-month betting record with a $161.4 million handle for the month of March, according to numbers released Thursday, April 8, by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC). The previous record was $149.5 million in January.
Scratch ticket sales are on another record pace. Big jackpots for Powerball and Mega Millions also helped push sales, Iowa Lottery Board members learned at a quarterly meeting March 30. Iowa Lottery CEO Matthew Strawn said scratch tickets sales have seen a 22.5% year-over-year increase. States may retool the lotto products because big jackpots masked some revenue concerns in Iowa and elsewhere.
In off-the-beaten-path news, DraftKings announced a relationship with the WWE ahead of WrestleMania 37 and Easter morning was disrupted at Rhythm City Casino and Resort in Davenport after a Quad Cities man is accused of chasing his spouse around with an axe.
|Betfred Sportsbook||$1,000 wager match|
|BetMGM Sportsbook||$600 risk-free bonus|
|BetRivers Sportsbook||$250 deposit bonus|
|DraftKings Sportsbook||$1,000 bonus|
|FanDuel Sportsbook||Risk-free bet up to $1,000|
|PointsBet Sportsbook||Risk-free bet up to $500|
|William Hill Sportsbook||Risk-free bet up to $500|
Online sports betting is available to Iowa bettors. Once you’ve downloaded a sports betting app, you’ll need to complete the registration form and use one of the bonus codes above to lock in the special promotions. While the details will vary, all sportsbooks will require the following information:
You’ll also need to accept the terms and conditions, including the stipulation that you are 21 years or older.
To place a bet, you must be within IA state lines. Any doubts regarding your location and the mobile sportsbook won’t allow you to wager. To enforce this rule, sports betting apps require access to your phone’s location services, while web-based sportsbooks will require you to download a geolocation app from your device’s app store. Using a VPN or proxy server will not allow you to place sports bets.
|Sportsbook||Casino Partner||Launch Date|
|theScore Bet||Ameristar Casino||February 2021|
|BetMGM||Diamond Jo Casino Dubuque||January 2021|
|BetRivers||Wild Rose casinos||January 2021|
|Betfred||Grand Falls Casino||September 2020|
|FanDuel||Diamond Jo casinos||September 2020|
|DraftKings||Wild Rose casinos||February 2020|
|Hard Rock||Hard Rock Casino||December 2019|
|Q Sportsbook||Q Casino||December 2019|
|PointsBet||Catfish Bend Casino||November 2019|
|Elite||Riverside Casino||August 2019|
|William Hill||Prairie Meadows Casino||August 2019|
The Hawkeye State is home to online and retail sportsbooks. Iowa has seen 10 sportsbooks go live since the legalization of sports betting. Here are reviews of the top 5 sports betting sites:
Bonus: $50 + $1,000
Bonus Code: None - Use Links
DraftKings has become a go-to spot for scores of online sports bettors here in Iowa. A slick app that’s chock full of bells and whistles is a big part of the reason why. Among the top attractions is a live betting experience.
While nearly all mobile sportsbooks offer it these days, DraftKings has taken it to a whole other level with lightning-fast tech doing the legwork behind the scenes. Odds and lines are constantly updating while winning wagers are paid out in a flash.
The DraftKings IA sports betting app is available for both iOS and Android devices. If you’re looking for a great user experience with a sportsbook that’s not shy about dishing out exciting promo offerings, you’ll want to check out DraftKings.
Bonus Code: None - Use Links
FanDuel remains a titan in the world of daily fantasy sports. The company has also evolved into one of the top online sports betting sites in the nation. It offers up a user-friendly iOS and Android app that looks great and works like a charm.
There are always enticing promotional opportunities to take advantage of, and FanDuel has also been an innovator in new ways to play. One of its biggest contributions has been the same game parlay, a feature that has caught on like wildfire across the industry.
FanDuel Sportsbook in Iowa is super clean and easy to navigate around. You can be up and running quickly and easily and never miss a beat with all the games and sporting events.
Use bonus code PLAYBONUS
The BetMGM online sportsbook is among the many companies battling to be at the top of the charts with sports betting. The company is off to a fantastic start.
The recognizable brand name has certainly helped, but there’s much more to see once you look under the hood. Users of BetMGM IA Sportsbook, which is available for Apple and Android devices, quickly learn that everything they need is right at their fingertips.
The list of available sports to watch on is incredibility deep. While plenty of competitors offer up niche sports as well, BetMGM goes the extra mile with things you won’t find everywhere. There’s a lot to love here, so you should check it out.
Bonus: $15 free + $1,000
Bonus code BFS15
Betfred is one of the top bookmakers in the UK. The company is now setting up roots in the US, with Iowa being one of its first points of entry. Early returns have been incredibly promising as Betfred has been very well-received.
Check out the mobile app for iOS and Android devices, which features all the markets and bet types you need.
You can live bet as a game plays out, place wagers on all the top US and international leagues, and even take advantage of a steady array of promos. Betfred isn’t quite a household name yet, but it looks like it’s on its way.
Bonus code BETBONUS
A couple of years ago, the PointsBet name wasn’t part of the sports betting industry lexicon. Today, the Australia-based sportsbook has become a huge hit in legal states, including Iowa.
PointsBet attracts attention with a wide array of promo offerings and innovative features, include “PointsBetting.” The new way to wager affords you the chance to have more of a say on the risk-to-reward ratio.
Another way that this Iowa online sportsbook has managed to stand out is by offering up odds and lines that are always on point. They’re among the most appealing and competitive across the industry. PointsBet is available for Apple and Android devices.
You no longer need to cross the Mississippi River to wager at BetRivers online sportsbook. Like BetMGM, no retail book bears this branding in Iowa, but it’s fully functional online. The beauty of this book is a great volume of alternate lines on many events. This takes a lot of guesswork out of getting the line you want on spreads and totals on the game you want to bet.
Elite Sportsbook is partners with Rhythm City Casino Resort in Davenport and Riverside Casino & Golf Resort in Riverside and offers retail and online betting. Bet.Works created this platform.
The Hard Rock online sportsbook launched in December 2019. Its retail partner is the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Sioux City.
Q Sportsbook launched in December 2019 at the Q Casino in Dubuque. The app is available for both Android and Apple devices. It is the product of a partnership between the casino and sportsbook provider IGT.
William Hill was the first to enter the Iowa sports betting market. The online sportsbook is partners with six Iowa casinos. You can take advantage of the “Bet $50, Get $50” welcome bonus, whether you’re betting on the William Hill app or the site. This easy bonus is yours as soon as you bet $50. It can be as a single bet or multiple smaller ones.
Online sportsbooks in Iowa always have to be on their guard. After all, the competition is always the press of a button away, so sportsbooks offer a variety of bonuses and promotions, both as an incentive for you to play and a reason for you to stay.
Bonus rewards typically come as either free sportsbook bets or site credits. Free bets are essentially vouchers for wagers of a certain value. They are not divisible, and you lose any amount you don’t bet, so you should always bet the face value of the free bet. Site credits, on the other hand, act more or less like cash. You can use them or divide them for wagers however you wish.
Here are some of the most common sports betting bonus types that you’ll see:
No matter the type of sportsbook bonus you redeem, you need to read through the terms and conditions listed with each bonus before you claim it. If there are no terms and conditions, then DO NOT claim the bonus.
The first thing to look for is the playthrough requirement. As we mentioned, books will give you either free bets or site credits as rewards. Although these will work for betting onsite, you will not be able to cash them out.
Instead, you will have to play through an amount of the bonus a specified number of times before it will convert into actual money. In some cases, the playthrough requirement is only a single run through the cash. However, for other bonuses (particularly deposit bonuses), you could see a requirement of 25x your bonus amount or more. In such a case, in order to release a $10 bonus as cash, you’d have to bet $250 or more. You don’t have to lose, per se, but you do have to put that amount at risk.
The other thing to look for is the time limit. Along with the money you’ll spend on the playthrough requirement, you’ll also have to commit to a certain amount of time to reach the mark. In the example above, if you have to bet $250 and you usually wager in $5 increments, it’s going to take a while. Usually, bonuses come with time limits, and any unredeemed amounts are forfeit if time runs out.
Before you can place a bet, you’ll need to deposit money. In Iowa, you cannot fund your sports betting account with a credit card. However, a range of safe payment options are available:
Sports fans in Iowa have a lot of ways to bet. We explain the main types of wagers, which include live betting.
When using a sports betting app, you’ll find it easy to locate the games and bet types. Starting with the most popular and simple bets (moneyline, totals or spreads) is a great strategy. Here are the basics:
Mobile betting apps make new formats possible. Live betting covers many of the bet types above but takes place while games are underway. The odds will change via a feed as the action unfolds and these can change quickly.
You’ll have an opportunity to assess the action, and place extra bets if you find an opportunity. Using apps means you’ll be able to do this from the stadium, the bar or at home while enjoying the game.
Some apps use a cash out feature for early redemption bets. You can redeem a bet at any time; the sportsbook will give you a price, and you choose whether to accept it.
Though there are no major league sports teams in Iowa, there are many options for betting. College sports are a major draw in Iowa, such as the Iowa Cyclones and the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Neighboring states host the pro leagues that Iowans love. The Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears are fan-favorites for NFL followers.
MLB fans in Iowa typically follow the White Sox, Chicago Cubs and the Minnesota Twins. NBA lovers won’t miss a Chicago Bulls game, or even the Indiana Pacers or the Milwaukee Bucks.
Those who track the NHL follow the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Chicago Blackhawks or the Milwaukee Admirals.
Horse race betting was already legal in Iowa before bill SF 617 was signed. This type of betting got a carve-out in the 2006 UIGEA and is well-established online.
Betting on horses follows a different format to sports betting. Instead of taking odds offered by the books, bets are organized into pools. Pari-mutuel betting takes the bets on all the horses, with the total fund paid out to the winning tickets only (minus a fee for the tracks). There are various pools for win, show, place and the various multiple horse bets.
Here are the main bets you can place:
You can “box” multiple horse wagers. This means you bet multiple times, which allows your selections to finish in any order. The final type of bet covers several races. With a Pick 5 or Pick 6 bet, you choose.
You’ll only find one horse racetrack in Iowa. Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino in Altoona offers a calendar of thoroughbred and quarter horse racing, as well as its big casino and sportsbook.
You can find more information here on our Iowa horse racing betting page.
Iowa’s history with sports betting is not very long, to be sure. However, the Hawkeye State’s actions are a great example of how to move legislation along efficiently and take advantage of new opportunities. Here is how Iowa sports betting came to pass:
The decades-old federal prohibition on sports betting, PASPA, comes crashing down by virtue of a 6-3 Supreme Court decision in May. All of a sudden, sports betting on the state level becomes possible throughout the US. New Jersey, which had led the charge in the fight against PASPA, is the first state outside of Nevada to launch sports betting.
Iowa Rep. Jake Highfill introduces a bill to legalize sports betting in Iowa early in 2018. The idea is that Iowa will have its law in place if PASPA falls, even if the ruling occurs after the end of the legislative session. The bill never passes, but it looks eerily similar to the bill that arrives in 2019.
Iowa’s Legislature and governor approve SF 617, a bill to legalize sports betting, almost a year to the day after the Supreme Court’s action on PASPA. The bill legalizes both online and retail sports betting in the Hawkeye State.
Features of the bill include the following:
The commission wastes little time in pumping out rules for operators and issuing licenses. The first mobile and retail sportsbooks in Iowa appear only three months later, in August.
All forms of sports betting begin expanding and flourishing in Iowa in earnest. By the end of the first full year, nearly all of Iowa’s casinos have sports betting in some form, whether retail, online or both.
In response, residents of and visitors to the Hawkeye State wager increasing amounts of money each month, culminating in a record $104.1 million in handle in December. Of that figure, more than $78 million comes from online sports betting.
Both overall handle and online sports betting’s share of handle are likely to increase in 2021. The state’s prohibition on remote registration ended on the last day of 2020.
Now players no longer have to travel to a retail facility to complete their registration for an online account. Residents can stay in their homes and play from their couches. Visitors need only cross the state lines from places like Missouri, Nebraska, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Illinois bettors come, too, since they cannot bet on Illinois college games while in the Land of Lincoln.
Yes, bill SF 617 was signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds in May 2019, which legalized retail and mobile sports betting. Each casino is allowed to license up to two mobile sportsbooks in addition to a retail one.
To legally bet, you need to be 21 years or older and inside state lines.
No, offshore sites are not regulated on a state or federal level. While they claim to be legal, the licenses are issued by governments on Caribbean Island-states, and oversight on the companies involved is minimal. If an offshore book closes overnight and takes your bankroll with it, you have no legal recourse. There is no reason to risk betting at an offshore book now that legal options are available in the Hawkeye State.
Yes, you can bet on college sports; however, prop bets on college athletes are not allowed.