Vigtory Sportsbook Takes Initial Step Toward Joining The Fray In Iowa

Written By Derek Helling on November 23, 2020 - Last Updated on May 11, 2021

There is still work to do and no timetable for it to occur; however, the intent is clear. Vigtory Sportsbook, which headquarters are in nearby Chicago, plans to enter the Iowa sports betting market.

On Nov. 19, the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission (IRGC) approved a market access deal between the operator and Casino Queen Marquette. However, it’s unclear how and when the two parties will proceed.

Next steps for Vigtory Sportsbook in Iowa

Now that Vigtory has cleared this regulatory hurdle, it can move on to the next one. That would be receiving clearance to take the Vigtory app and website live in IA.

So far, Vigtory is tight-lipped about when it plans to do so. The authorization of the access deal with the Casino Queen doesn’t expire as long as the two parties don’t change the terms of the contract substantially.

Vigtory plans to launch New Jersey soon. Further plans are launching in nine other jurisdictions, including Iowa.

The unique nature of the company is it plans to offer low-vig markets to attract more high-end bettors. The company’s co-CEO Scott Butera laid out that strategy:

“We think there’s an underserved market for folks who are sports bettors of maybe a little bit higher dollar amount, a little bit higher action and are more influenced by things like, you know, a great product at a good value. So, whereas a fantasy player might be betting $30, $40, $50 a bet on average our bettors will be betting, you know, high hundreds to the low thousands and we’ll be offering them a product with a low vig.”

It’s unlikely that IA bettors will have a chance to try out the platform anytime soon. Vigtory will likely wait until after the in-person registration requirement expires. That regulation ends on New Year’s Day 2021.

With that, Iowa may see more online sportsbooks launch in the Hawkeye State next year. It doesn’t look like there will be many other changes to the gambling landscape, however.

Will Iowa casinos push for online gaming in 2021?

During the IRGC meeting, the board approved a market access deal between Rhythm City Casino and Rushmore Gaming. Rushmore is a provider of online casino games such as virtual blackjack and slots.

To date, online casino platforms for real money remain illegal in Iowa. Iowans can play social casino platforms, however, as those don’t require players to wager cash.

Rhythm City is now the second IA casino to secure a deal with a provider in anticipation of a potential change in the law someday. If that trend expands, it might lead to Iowa casinos actively lobbying for more gambling expansion.

Right now, there is no momentum for such a change in Des Moines. However, it’s easy to see why casinos would be keen to push for this with the right framework.

Just like with online sports betting, the state could limit licensures for online casinos to brick-and-mortar casino operators. They could then split revenues with the actual providers.

That could be a lucrative new revenue stream for Iowa casinos and the state as well. It could exceed revenues from sports betting by several times.

For Vigtory Sportsbook, the matter at hand is sports betting. It’s anyone’s guess as to when Iowa sports bettors will have access to the platform, but that seems inevitable now.

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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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