Iowa Online Sports Betting & Online Gambling

Iowa online gambling

Iowa legalized and launched sports betting in 2019, including online and mobile sportsbooks. The midwestern state has a number of online sports betting sites available to players along with 16 retail betting locations. 

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. 

While Iowa has a strong sports betting portfolio, it still prohibits online casinos and poker. This could change in the future, but for now, Iowans will need to stick to sportsbooks for online betting. 

Iowa Sports Betting Sites

Iowa’s sports betting websites and mobile apps require a few steps to get started. Unlike sportsbook apps or websites in other states, Iowa’s sites require you to visit a land-based location affiliated with your chosen operator to register and verify your identity. You will only be able to place a bet online in Iowa once you’ve completed this process. After you verify your identity at the land-based property, you can bet online using your account without having to visit the casino again.

The law requiring in-person verification, however, only applies until January 1, 2021. After that date, you’ll be able to register online and place a bet in one sitting without paying a visit to the land-based partner casino first. 

Most Iowa sportsbooks will also require you to download a geo-location app to confirm that you are within state lines. However, you only have to download that app the first time you intend to place a bet. For future bets, the app will auto-verify your location. 

When you go to confirm your account, be sure to bring a government-issued ID. 

DraftKings Online Sportsbook

DraftKings offers iOS and Android apps in addition to desktop betting. 

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. 

PointsBet Sportsbook

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. 

William Hill Online

William Hill has an Android and iOS app available to Iowa bettors in addition to desktop betting on their website. 

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!

Elite Sportsbook

Elite sportsbook is the online sports betting site for Iowa’s Riverside, Rhythm City, and Grand Falls Casinos. The process is similar to the state’s other sportsbooks. Download the app, register, then visit one of the land-based partners to verify your identity. 

After that, just confirm your location via the GeoLocator app and you’re all set. 

Hard Rock Online

Hard Rock Sioux City offers online sports betting on its website once bettors register at the property. 

Players at Hard Rock earn rewards points for betting online, which can be redeemed for slot credits, restaurant discounts, and more at the casino in Sioux City. 

Q Sportsbook

Q Casino in Dubuque has an online sports betting presence in the form of iOS and Android apps in addition to desktop betting on its website. A visit to the property to confirm your identity and register your account is required.

Upcoming Iowa Sportsbook Launches

Though they’re not live just yet, Betfred, Unibet, BetRivers, and FanDuel all have plans to launch in The Hawkeye State. A few of these will be partners with land-based casinos that already have live digital sportsbooks. The state permits casinos to partner with two online technology providers, giving players a variety of sports betting options. 

Iowa Online Sports Betting: Getting Started

As we covered in a few of the sportsbook snapshots above, there are a few key points to remember when you’re getting started with sports betting in Iowa. 

App Requirements From Google And Apple

Google and Apple each have separate restrictions in place for gambling apps. 

Apple allows regulated gambling apps, but they must be developed in Apple’s programming language. As of now, this isn’t too much of an issue for Iowa bettors. Most of the sportsbooks in the state have an iOS app available in Apple’s App Store. If your sportsbook of choice doesn’t have an iOS app, try the desktop version or visit the sports betting site from your mobile browser. 

Google completely prohibits any regulated gambling apps from its Play Store listings. However, Android apps are allowed. Instead of downloading them from Google’s marketplace, simply visit the website of your preferred sportsbook. Online sports betting sites will have a link to download the Android app to your device once you follow a few prompts.

If you’d rather bet on a  desktop, just visit your sportsbook’s webpage. 

Registration Requirements

Currently, all bettors in Iowa must visit a land-based casino to confirm their identity and open an account. Each online operator partners with an Iowa retail casino. You can check our listings above to find the casino closest to you along with its online partner. Once the account is confirmed, players just need to confirm they are in Iowa via a geolocator app.

This can be a bit of a barrier for new sports bettors or for those who live far from a land-based casino. The good news is that the stipulation requiring in-person registration ends on January 1, 2021. Next year, Iowans can register and start betting all online without a visit to a casino property. 

Online Gambling In Iowa

Iowa is gradually becoming a sports betting hub for the Midwest. It had a headstart on neighboring Illinois in terms of launch dates. And there are already a number of sportsbooks available to Iowa online gambling bettors. 

However, the state remains generally opposed to other forms of online gambling in Iowa, and opportunities to wager online outside of the sports betting world are few and far between. Here’s a breakdown of Iowa online gambling as it stands in The Hawkeye State. 

Online Casino

Iowa law prohibits online casino gaming. Generally speaking, Iowa’s approach to online gambling seems similar to that of many other states. Namely, the state lawmakers are focusing efforts on sports betting for now.

Thus far sports betting has been a success in the state. As it grows in popularity, it’s possible Iowa legislators could look to legalize online casinos in the future, though that seems a long way off at this point. 

Even though Iowa prohibits online casinos, gambling enthusiasts aren’t completely out of luck. Iowa hosts 23 casinos throughout the state, each with gaming floors full of table games and slots

Iowa Online Poker

Online casino and online poker often go hand-in-hand, sometimes becoming legal as part of the same legislation. In Iowa’s case, online poker remains illegal alongside digital casinos. 

If the state chooses to push forward with legal online casino gaming, it’s likely that poker will be included or will follow shortly after. For now, poker players have to stick to land-based poker rooms. 

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. 

Sweepstakes Casino Sites

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 or Luckyland Casino are allowed to operate because players can mail in a request to receive a small amount of sweeps cash for free. 

While most Sweepstakes Casinos are technically legal, they sometimes operate in the grey area between lawful and unlawful. Iowa has strict prohibitions in place surrounding casino gaming, so players in the state should use sweepstakes sites with caution. 

Sweepstakes Poker

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., who 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. 

As with sweepstakes casinos, we recommend caution when playing sweepstakes poker. Iowa’s laws against online gaming are strict, and this walks the thin line between legal and illegal. 

Mobile Betting In Iowa

Iowa’s online gambling laws allow for online betting, so many operators already have a mobile option available. If you want to play on your phone or tablet, you’ll be able to do so by following a few steps. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

Why Should I Trust Regulated Betting Sites?

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

Grey-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. 

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

Iowa Legal Online Gambling FAQ

Does Iowa allow online sports betting?

Yes. Currently, you’re 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, 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. 

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?

Six are live now, and more are on the way. 

DraftKings, Elite Sportsbook, William Hill Online, Q Sportsbook, and PointsBet have apps and desktop betting available. 

Hard Rock has desktop sports betting on its website. 

Betfred, Unibet, BetRivers, and FanDuel all have plans to launch online sportsbooks in Iowa as well, though they aren’t live just yet.