Iowa Online Sports Betting & Online Gambling

Are Online Sports Betting Apps Legal In Iowa?

Yes, Iowa online sports betting apps and sites are legal. The Hawkeye State has a number of online sports betting sites available to players along with 16 retail betting locations. 

However, until January 1, 2021, you need to register in-person before you can bet online from anywhere in the state. But starting in 2021, you can register at licensed Iowa online sportsbooks anywhere within state lines.

Are Online Gambling Apps Legal In Iowa?

Iowa legalized and launched sports betting in 2019 to resounding success. The launch included in-person sportsbooks as well as online and mobile sportsbooks

However, the state still prohibits online casinos and online poker. This could change in the future, but for now, Iowans will need to stick to sportsbooks for online betting, and play the sweepstakes sites to win cash prizes online with casino and poker games.

Top Online Iowa Sportsbook Apps

The five Iowa sportsbook apps that have built a strong reputation across the US as offering the best odds, promotions, customer service, and app stability are:

  • DraftKings
  • FanDuel
  • PointsBet
  • William Hill
  • BetRivers

In-Depth Online Iowa Sports Betting Apps & Bonus Offers 

DraftKings Iowa

  • Bonus: 20% first deposit match up to $1,000
  • App: iOS, Android, Web Browser
  • Launch Date: February 2020
  • Why We Like The DraftKings App: DraftKings offers arguably the most stable app in sports betting alongside consistently competitive odds and extensive betting markets for a robust selection of sports.

Wild Rose Casinos are partnered with DraftKings, and they have three locations in Iowa: Clinton, Emmetsburg, and Jefferson. To bet on DraftKings, complete registration in the app or on the website, then pay one of those three properties a visit to confirm your identity.

Once you complete that process, you can place bets in either the DraftKings app or on their webpage.

FanDuel Iowa

  • Bonus: $100 free bet when you sign up in person; $1,000 in risk-free bets
  • App: iOS, Android, Web Browser
  • Launch Date: September 2020
  • Why We Like The FanDuel App: FanDuel offers a comparably exceptional online sports betting experience to that of DraftKings. But FanDuel consistently beats DraftKings on the odds in a variety of arenas, so joining both may be best come 2021.

While DraftKings joined the Iowa market in February 2020 as one of the first choices, FanDuel didn’t launch until September 2020. But now that they’re available, you can head to Diamond Jo Casino in Dubuque or Northwood Iowa to complete registration and get in on the FanDuel action.

PointsBet Iowa

  • Bonus: 2 risk-free bets up to $1,500 total | Use code BIGBONUS to claim
  • App: iOS, Android, Web Browser
  • Launch Date: November 2019
  • Why We Like The Points Bet App: PointsBet is an Australian company that’s making massive waves in the US betting market, and its hyper-competitive odds will continue their rise to prominence.

PointsBet is partnered with Catfish Bend Casino in Burlington, Iowa. Once you download the app and create an account, you’ll need to visit the casino in-person to confirm your identity. But you can register from home starting from January 1, 2021, which may be worth the wait if you don’t live near Burlington.

William Hill Iowa

  • Bonus: $300 in risk-free betting
  • App: iOS, Android, Web Browser
  • Launch Date: August 2019
  • Why We Like The William Hill App: William Hill is one of the most world-renown online sportsbooks for not only being one of the first, but also remaining among the best of the best thanks to consistent innovations and an international reach.

Prairie Meadows, Lakeside Casino, and Isle Casinos in Waterloo and Bettendorf are William Hill’s land-based partners. Once you download the app and confirm your identity at one of those partner locations, you can start betting. 

BetRivers Iowa

  • Bonus: 100% first deposit match up to $250
  • App: iOS, Android, Web Browser
  • Launch Date: October 2020
  • Why We Like The BetRivers App: BetRivers often has competitive odds that beat out the other options. But you come here for the welcome bonus, which boasts a mere 1x rollover requirement.

At BetRivers Iowa, you basically double your first deposit on day one to do (practically) whatever you want with. This isn’t a risk-free bet, this is bonus cash you can spend a dollar at a time or use all at once, your choice.

Like DraftKings, you can go to any Wild Rose Casino location to register in-person for a BetRivers online account.

Full List Of Iowa Sportsbook Apps

Iowa offers the following nine sportsbook apps and sites, with another expected sometime after January 1, 2021:

  • BetRivers
  • Betfred
  • DraftKings
  • ELITE Sportsbook
  • FanDuel Sportsbook
  • Hard Rock Online
  • PointsBet
  • Q Sportsbook
  • William Hill
  • Unibet (Expected January 2021)

Everything You Need To Know About Sports Betting In Iowa

What Can I Bet On In Iowa

Up until May 2020, you could not play daily fantasy sports (DFS) for college level competitions. However, that date is behind us, so you have full access to DFS contests.

You can also bet on in-state schools in Iowa. That means Hawkeyes fans can bet on their favorite team without needing to go to a neighboring state, which is the requirement in Illinois, New York, and elsewhere.

Basically, your betting is only limited by what the sportsbooks are offering. You can legally bet on any professional or collegiate sporting event that takes place in Iowa, in the US, or abroad.

Iowa Sports Betting Laws

Iowa’s sports betting laws will be far more straightforward come January 1, 2021. Then, everyone 21 years or older can register at a sportsbook from anywhere within state lines. 

But, until then, the law states that you must register in-person at the sportsbook before you can bet using the app anywhere in the state. This means you have to go to the specific sportsbook’s partnering casino, which can greatly limit what platforms are feasible to join. This also complicates joining more than one to compare odds before you place a bet.

Otherwise, Iowa sports betting laws allow anyone over 21 to bet on sports online as long as they’re physically in the state.

Sports Betting Bonuses In Iowa

Iowa has a range of sports betting bonuses, which begin when you first join an online sportsbook and make a deposit. Right now, FanDuel is offering a no-deposit bonus for registering in person, but that will likely go away once that requirement is lifted.

The most common sports betting bonuses at Iowa sportsbook are as follows:

  • Risk-Free Bet, where you can bet up to a certain amount and have that amount refunded as bonus cash if the bet loses.
  • Deposit Bonus, where the sportsbook matches your deposit by a percentage up to a maximum amount, such as 100% up to $250 at BetRivers Iowa.
  • Ongoing Promotions, including odds boosters, free bets for placing certain wagers, and free contests.

Much like what you can bet on, promotional opportunities are only limited by what the sportsbooks are offering.

Betting At Retail Sportsbooks In Iowa

Because Iowa required all sports bettors to register in-person before they could bet on the apps, the retail sportsbooks opened alongside the only options. And they’re not going away when the requirement for in-person registration expires on January 1, 2021.

But not every casino in Iowa has a retail sportsbook area. If you’re trying to travel to the closest option, make sure it has sports betting by visiting the casino website ahead of time.

The casinos that do host brick-and-mortar sportsbooks are located all across the state. Inside, you’ll be greeted by walls of TVs, betting kiosks, betting counters, and a full food and drink menu. 

Iowa Sports Betting History

The Hawkeye State adopted sports betting fairly early compared to many of its midwestern neighbors. Iowa’s quick move into the sports betting space has created a somewhat unexpected Midwest gambling destination. With a strong college sports community and a diverse professional sports fanbase, Iowa bettors have plenty of variety available to them.

In just the first full month of Iowa sports betting, locals placed over $40 million in total wagers. While this doesn’t guarantee ongoing success, that’s a landmark introductory period that has investors excited about the future. 

One can only assume that the industry will get another uptick once you can register online from anywhere in the state in 2021.

Top Iowa Online Casino Apps

Folks in Iowa can legally win cash prizes at the following sweepstakes sites:

  • Chumba Casino
  • LuckyLand Casino
  • Funzpoints Casino
  • Global Poker

In-Depth Iowa Online Casino Sites & Bonus Offers 

Status Of Online Gambling In Iowa

Casino enthusiasts looking for online games in Iowa will likely stumble upon a sweepstakes casino site at some point.

Sweepstakes casinos operate on a model that allows them to run legally as sweepstakes. Players purchase in-game money, usually labeled “coins,” which they then use to play casino games. The coins have no monetary value. Players can also receive “Sweeps Coins” or “Sweeps Cash” when they make a purchase. These can be redeemed for real cash prizes.

Sweepstakes sites like Chumba Casino, Luckyland Casino, and Funzpoints Casino are allowed to operate because players can mail in a request to receive a small amount of sweeps cash for free.

Chumba Casino

Chumba Casino offers a range of casino games that include near countless slots, some of which have progressive jackpots. In fact, landing the grand prize on a progressive slot at Chumba could land you a cash prize of over a million dollars. Is it a longshot? Of course, but no more so than at a traditional online casino.

Chumba Casino also has a handful of non-slot games. These include two variations of roulette, blackjack, and Jacks or Better Video Poker. The blackjack variation at Chumba Casino is on par with many that you’d find at legal US online casinos in terms of rules favorable to the player.

To win cash prizes, you need to win Sweeps Coins, which requires you to get Sweeps Coins in the first place, then play the games with them. You’ll receive two free Sweeps Coins when you join, another every day that you log in, and you can mail in a request and participate in their social media contests to score more.

Once you’ve won at least 100 Sweeps Coins, you can exchange them for an equivalent cash prize.

LuckyLand Casino

LuckyLand Casino in Iowa is set up practically the same way as Chumba in terms of Gold Coins versus Sweeps Coins. However, there are some pretty significant differences.

At LuckyLand, you won’t find any table or card games, just a few dozen slots and some digital scratch card games. They too have progressive jackpot slots as well as classic three-reel slots and non-progressive video slots.

LuckyLand also gives you 10 free Sweeps Coins for signing up. You also only need to win 50 Sweeps Coins to redeem for a cash prize, which is half as high as Chumba Casino.

But while Chumba gives you one free Sweeps Coin each day that you log in, LuckyLand gives you 0.30 Sweeps Coins each day until you claim for seven consecutive days. Then you receive 1.0 Sweeps Coin.

Because you don’t need to make a purchase to play, it may make the most sense to simply play at both Chumba Casino and LuckyLand Casino to see what kind of luck you can make happen.

Funzpoints Casino

If Iowa or any other state cracks down on sweepstakes casinos (other than the State of Washington, which already has), Funzpoints will likely still be safe. And that’s not just because it’s a relatively obscure option.

Some say Funzpoints over complicates the sweepstakes model, but that’s only because many of us are so used to the way LuckyLand and Chumba do things.

At Funzpoints, you can play in Standard or Premium modes. If you play in Premium mode, the funzpoints you win can be exchanged directly for cash prizes. In standard mode, the funzpoints are just for fun and can’t be exchanged directly for a cash prize. 

However, you do win free entries to prize drawings in either mode. And the more you win the games, the more tickets to the prize drawing you’ll earn. So, either way, you could win a cash prize playing the casino games available at Funzpoints.

Online Poker In Iowa

Sweepstakes poker uses a near-identical model to its casino counterparts. In some cases, one company will operate both a sweepstakes poker and a sweepstakes casino site. This is true of VGW Malta Ltd., which runs Chumba Casino and Global Poker.

Global Poker and its competitors offer sweeps cash to players when they buy in-game currency. The mail-in option remains, which makes it legal for these sites to operate as sweepstakes.

But while competitors do exist, Global Poker is the premier option for legal online poker in Iowa. You can play the following games using Sweeps Coins (for cash prizes) or Gold Coins (for fun) in Texas Hold’em, Omaha, or Crazy Pineapple formats:

  • Ring Games
  • Multi-Table Tournaments
  • Sit ‘n’ Go Tournaments
  • Progressive Sit ‘n’ Go

If you’re familiar with online poker already, this will likely be familiar because Global Poker is set up very similarly to the real-money site. And you only need to win 50 Sweeps Coins to redeem for a cash prize.

Legal Online Gambling Options

Online Horse Race Betting

Iowa players can legally participate in online horse race betting. Though the state only has one race track (Prairie Meadows, which is also a casino), sites like TVG allow Iowans to bet on horse races online without an in-person visit to the track.

Other sites available for horse race betting in Iowa include BetAmerica, TwinSpires, XpressBet, and more. These sites let players wager on races around the world.

Though some states allow anyone 18 years old or above to bet on horse races, Iowa’s minimum betting age is 21.

Iowa Online Lottery

The Iowa Lottery has a mobile app, but it’s simply a resource for information and account management. The Lottery does not allow online ticket purchases. Players 21 and older can only play the lottery by visiting a licensed retail location.

Daily Fantasy Sports

The Hawkeye State authorized Daily Fantasy Sports in 2019. DraftKings was the first operator to launch with a Daily Fantasy Sports offering in Iowa. Competitor FanDuel followed.

Daily Fantasy Sports has grown since launching in 2007. Players can now enjoy DFS offerings in a wide variety of sports such as football, baseball, hockey, basketball, soccer, golf, and many more.

How Can I Bet Using My Phone In Iowa?

1. Download The App And Register

First, download your app of choice. Most Iowa sportsbooks offer an Android and Apple iOS app. You can also access the sites through your mobile browser. Remember to download the Android app from your preferred sportsbook’s website. As of now Google doesn’t allow regulated gambling apps in the Play Store.

Once you have the app, you’ll be able to do some preliminary registration like entering your name, date of birth, and other info.

2. Visit A Retail Casino

The next step is the most intensive because it requires a visit to a brick and mortar casino that’s partnered with your favorite online sports betting site. We’ve listed those partnerships above to make your choice easy.

Bring your ID and your phone (with the app already downloaded) to the partner casino to register.

If you’d rather wait until you can complete the entire sign-up process online, you can hold off until January 1, 2021. Registration can be done completely online from that date forward.

3. Verify Location Within Iowa

Following in-person registration, you’ll need to verify your location, because betting in Iowa requires you to be within state lines. Some sportsbooks require you to download a separate app for this. Others can manage it using your phone’s location services.

Check your sportsbook’s FAQ or ask about geolocation during your in-person visit to determine what you’ll need to do for location confirmation. After you confirm your location once, you typically won’t need to do it again for future bets.

4. Make A Deposit

Your final step is to make a deposit! Sportsbooks accept a wide variety of payment methods, including credit/debit, online payment services (PayPal, Skrill, PayNearMe, etc.), bank transfer/ACH, and more. If you’re at the casino, you can usually deposit into your account via cash as well.

Why Should I Trust Regulated Betting Sites?

Regulated sports betting sites give you as a player distinct advantages over offshore or gray-market providers.

Better Bets

Legal sportsbooks get their data from regulated providers, so they can provide you with more betting options.

Up-to-the-second data allows for live and in-play betting, which can round out the sports betting experience beyond simply picking winners or betting on the spread. Offshore betting sites don’t have access to such data, so their options will be limited or riskier.

Government Oversight

Regulated US betting providers must adhere to strict laws set in place by government agencies. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission oversees The Hawkeye State’s betting presence. The organization has rules and regulations in place to ensure betting operators follow all state and federal laws and can’t take advantage of bettors.  This includes all Iowa online gambling and online sports betting.

Gray-market operators, on the other hand, are only beholden to the laws of the jurisdiction in which they’re based. These markets have loose betting laws if any, and allow the operators to skirt US regulations.

Safe, Secure Payments

Iowa’s regulated sportsbooks give you various payment and withdrawal options. The variety is a huge point in their favor, but so is the security surrounding these payments.

Legal sports betting sites use high-level encryption similar to banks and online shopping retailers. Their systems protect your data because you’re an important customer to them and they are bound by law to protect your information. Offshore providers have no such obligations, and their available payment methods are limited at best, risky at worst.

Customer Service

Operators like DraftKings, PointsBet, and others have full teams dedicated to customer support. They’ll offer multiple channels for help, including email, live chat, and phone lines. They treat players well because bettors keep their business running.

Gray-market sportsbooks often have limited customer service options and some have none at all.

After you make your first deposit, you’re ready to bet! Just access the app on your phone when you wish to place a wager and you’re good to go.

Iowa Online Gambling FAQ

Does Iowa allow online sports betting?

Yes, Iowa allows online sports betting. However, you’re currently required to visit a casino to confirm your identity before you can place a bet online. Each online sportsbook has a casino partner in Iowa, and some casinos partner with more than one option, which you can find on your preferred sportsbook’s website or our page.

After January 1, 2021, you’ll be able to register online without visiting a land-based property.

Does it make sense to sign up with more than one Iowa sports betting site?

Sometimes. Iowa’s limited-time requirement that you visit a casino to verify your account makes this a bit of an obstacle, though. For now, until the restriction is lifted in 2021, it makes sense to sign up for one account, confirm it at a partner casino, and get used to betting on that app.

Can I bet on my mobile device in Iowa?

Yes. Once you’ve signed up, confirmed your account at a land-based casino and verified your location, you can bet on mobile. However, you won’t need to visit a land-based casino to confirm your account starting on January 1, 2021.

Most operators have both an Android and iOS app available. You can find out how to get your app of choice on each individual sportsbook website.

What is Iowa’s age requirement for online sports betting?

21+. Anyone 21 or above can legally bet online in Iowa.

This is also true for online horse race betting and land-based casino gaming in Iowa. When you sign up for an online sportsbook, you’ll be required to confirm your age in person at a land-based casino.

How do sports betting online bonuses work?

There are a few ways online bonuses work. Some operators will match your initial deposit up to a certain dollar amount, which gives you more money to bet with. Others will give you a risk-free first bet, meaning if your first bet loses, you’ll be credited with the amount you lost. A few operators offer a sign-up bonus of a small amount, usually between $10-$25 without requiring a deposit.

How many different sports betting sites does Iowa have?

Nine are live now, and more are on the way. The current options in the State of Iowa are BetRivers, Betfred, DraftKings Sportsbook, ELITE Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, Hard Rock Online, PointsBet, Q Sportsbook, and William Hill. Unibet is expected January 2021, and more are likely to enter the market once the requirement to register in person is lifted come the new year.

About the Author

Mike Epifani

Mike Epifani (shown here at Caesar's Palace Las Vegas) is an experienced online gambling writer who specializes in online casinos and sports betting sites. From the nuances of bonus offers to winning strategies and beyond, his insights have helped countless remote bettors keep more of their money while having fun and staying safe.