Iowa sports betting is finally here.
Since August 2019, online sportsbooks continue to launch and open up to residents and visitors of the Hawkeye State.
After the passage of S.F. 617, sportsbook operators quickly moved to acquire licenses and start sports betting apps for in-state bettors. Now, there are multiple online sportsbooks operating legally in Iowa.
These are not fly-by-night operators, either. Sportsbook giants including DraftKings, PointsBet and William Hill all call Iowa home.
Of course, there are also several retail sportsbooks open for those who the in-person betting experience. However, online betting allows for new, flexible wagering formats.
The table below shows the top-ranked online sports betting sites in Iowa, along with the best bonus for each one:
Iowa does things differently compared with other states when it comes to registering for a sports betting account.
First, you’ll need to visit the casino that holds the license of the sportsbook brand in order to complete your sportsbook registration. The in-person registration requirement is in place until the end of 2020.
The registration process can be carried out online after you have downloaded the app (see below).
While the details will vary, all the sports betting apps will require the following information:
You’ll also need to accept the terms and conditions, which will include the stipulation that you need to be 21+ to play.
Apple allows betting apps in their app store. You can either go there directly, searching for your sportsbook brand – or go via their website on your iPhone. You will then be prompted to install the app.
iPhone apps contain the full functionality of the sites. This includes the cashier, account / bonus information and all the betting markets.
Unlike Apple, Google do not allow any gambling apps in their ‘Play’ store. There are fully functional Android Apps available in Iowa – though you’ll need to go via the brand’s own websites to install them.
Depending on your device and settings, pop-up messages appear. These warn you that you are downloading from an ‘Unknown Source’. As long as you make sure you are at the correct site and that your browsing session is secure, this download will be perfectly safe.
To place a bet, you’ll need to be physically located within IA state lines. The mobile sportsbooks are very strict on this. Any doubt about your location will stop you placing bets. Any app you download will need to access your phone’s location. If you hit problems (close to state lines), you’ll need to download additional geo-location software.
Using a VPN or proxy server will not allow you to place bets.
DraftKings launched its operations in Iowa in February 2020. DraftKings, best known for its pioneering work in daily fantasy sports, has established itself as one of the best and most creative sportsbook operators in the last few years.
Part of the company’s appeal are the innovations present on its app. In addition to being one of the first American sportsbooks with a Cash Out option, DraftKings generates a betting carousel tailored to each customer when they log in. The result is that each player on DraftKings has a unique experience, which truly makes it feel like you have your own personal sportsbook.
PointsBet is fairly new, having launched in NJ during the earlier part of 2019. The sportsbook uses a “points-based” system where you’re betting the over / under.
The PointsBet app is smooth, easy to use and is available for both iPhone and Android. With PointsBet, you can bet on the biggest sports – though their coverage of minor sports and leagues does need to be improved.
William Hill were the first mobile sportsbook in Iowa. This brand has the years of experience needed to hit the ground running. They have partnered with 4 Iowa casinos – and registration is available at the retail books at all of them.
You can take advantage of the ‘Bet $50, Get $50’ welcome bonus via the smartphone apps or desktop (browser-based) site. This easy bonus is yours as soon as you bet $50. This can be as a single bet, or multiple smaller ones.
Elite Sportsbook have partnered with the casinos at Rhythm City and Riverside to offer both retail and online betting. This platform was created by Bet.Works, which is new to sports betting. Unusually, Elite Sportsbook does not currently offer a welcome bonus for new players.
What you will find after exploring their black and gold interface is some of the latest ways to bet. These include live (in-play) betting and cash out (early redemption) betting.
The Hard Rock mobile sportsbook launched in December 2019 with registration available through its retail sportsbook partner at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Sioux City.
The app, available for both Android and iOS, is powered by Gaming Innovation Group Inc.
Q Sportsbook launched in December 2019 as well. Players can sign up at the Q Casino itself in Dubuque.
The app is available for both Android and iOS users. It is the product of a partnership between Q Casino and sportsbook provider IGT.
Before you can place a bet, you’ll need to deposit money. A visit to the retail casino / sportsbook for your brand, starting off with cash at the cage, is a popular method.
If you need to top up your account, that casino visit will not be necessary. A range of payment options can be used safely, including cards, bank transfers and electronic wallets. The details of using each method are covered below.
There are no pro sports teams in the NFL, NMA, MHL or MLB in Iowa. While there are some minor league teams, plus soccer and hockey sides. As with many states, you won’t be able to bet on college teams from IA – to do this you’d need to travel to another state.
Iowans have a big sporting tradition, with the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears popular choices for football fans. Add to this the Sox, Bulls and Bears – and neighboring IL has a lot to offer. You’ll also find plenty of betting options in Minnesota, with the Vikings, Twins, Timberwolves and Wild competing for your attention.
Sports fans in Iowa now have a lot of different ways to bet. You’ll see the main wagers which cover multiple sports explained below. In addition to these, there are many bets which are sport specific. Many prop bets fall into that category.
Mobile betting also allows for a brand-new format – live betting.
When you get started with an app, you’ll find it easy to locate the matches and bet types you want. Starting with the most popular and simple bets (Money Line, Totals or Spreads) is a great strategy. You can move on to more complex bets once you gain experience.
Mobile betting apps make new formats possible. Live betting covers many of the bet types already listed above, but takes place while matches are underway. Odds will change via a feed as the action unfolds. These can change very quickly depending on the action.
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, or even in a bar while enjoying the game.
An additional innovation that some apps use is ‘Cash Out’ or early redemption bets. Here you can redeem a bet at any time – the sportsbook will give you a price, and you choose whether to accept it.
Horse race betting was already legal in Iowa before Bill 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 different 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 / 6 bet, you choose.
There are three major horse racing betting sites active in Iowa. These are Bet America (who also run sports betting sites), TwinSpires and TVG. You can find more in this detailed page covering Iowa horse racing betting.
You’ll only find one horse racing track in Iowa. Prairie Meadows, near Des Moines, offers a calendar of Thoroughbred and Quarter horse racing – as well as their big casino and sportsbook.
Yes. Bill SF 617 was signed by Governor Kim Reynolds in May 2019. This legalized retail and mobile sports betting. Each casino is allowed to license up to 2 mobile sportsbooks in addition to a retail one.
To legally bet, you need to be 21+ and inside state lines. Registration for online betting needs to be completed in person (this rule expires at the end of 2020). There are also restrictions on betting on eSports and on college sports which involve Iowan teams.
You’ll have two choices. First, you can go to any of the 18 casinos which have (or soon will have) retail sportsbooks. Second, you can download an app or use your web browser for mobile betting.
Yes. Sports betting is available for both Android phones and iPhones. You can download apps either from the sportsbook websites (for Android) or from the Apple App Store. These apps give you full betting functionality, including a cashier and new innovations such as live betting.
Offshore sites are not regulated by a responsible body. While they claim to be ‘legal’, any licenses are issued by governments on Caribbean island-states – and oversight on the companies involved is minimal. If an offshore book closes overnight, taking your bankroll with it, you have zero recourse.
There is no good reason to take the risk of betting at offshore books now legal options are available in the Hoosier state.
Yes. Bill SF 617 included provision for Daily Fantasy Sports as well as sports betting. Both DraftKings and FanDuel have begun their DFS operation – and will launch full sports betting very soon. Prior to this change, Iowa was one of only a handful of states to ban DFS contests online.
Yes, you can bet on college sports which don’t involve anyone under the age of 18 in Iowa. In line with many other states, you will not be able to place a wager on a college game which involves an Iowa-based team.