Iowa Online Sports Betting & Online Gambling

Are Online Sports Betting Apps Legal In Iowa?

Iowa online sports betting and online gambling have different rules. Online sports betting is legal. The Hawkeye State has a number of online sports betting apps and sites available to players as well as 19 retail betting locations. You can register remotely as well, as the in-person registration requirement expired early this year.

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 best 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
  • BetMGM
  • Caesars Sportsbook
  • BetRivers
  • FanDuel
  • BetFred
  • PointsBet

In-Depth Online Iowa Sports Betting Apps & Bonus Offers 

DraftKings Iowa

The DraftKings app is one of the most well-respected platforms in the US – and for good reason. You can always find high-quality odds on a clean, reliable app as well as plenty of promotions. If you’re a daily fantasy sports (DFS) player, you can use the same account and bankroll to bet on sports and play DFS at DraftKings Iowa.

BetMGM Iowa

  • Bonus: $1,000 in risk-free bets
  • App: iOS, Android, Web Browser
  • Why We Like The BetMGM App: Great promotions and parlay profit boosts

BetMGM is one of the best apps in the industry and is available in most states where sports betting is legal. Bettors will enjoy its great ongoing promotions, such as its $1,000 risk-free bet, plus parlay boosts and live streaming options.

Caesars Sportsbook Iowa

  • Promo: $5,000 in risk-free betting
  • App: iOS, Android, Web Browser
  • Why We Like The Caesars Sportsbook App: Caesars Entertainment is one of the most world-renowned brands and its sportsbook app is among the best thanks to consistent innovations.

New bettors who would like to be part of a loyalty program will love Caesars Rewards. You’ll also find highly competitive odds on domestic major league and college sports as well. It has a top-notch mobile app and uses the same platform used by William Hill Sportsbook. Bettors who were used to the William Hill app will find the change to be an easy transition.

BetRivers Iowa

At BetRivers Iowa, you basically double your first deposit on day one to do (practically) whatever you want with it. 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. This is as close to a “no-brainer” offer as it gets, but make sure to still read all the terms and conditions before participating.

FanDuel Iowa

  • Bonus: $1,000 in risk-free bets
  • App: iOS, Android, Web Browser
  • Why We Like The FanDuel App: FanDuel Iowa offers a wide range of fantastic odds and promotions on one of the highest rated platforms in the App Store.

FanDuel Sportsbook consistently beats out all other online sports betting apps in Iowa on the biggest events. While it’s still worth shopping for the best odds, it’s tough to go wrong with a brand as high-quality as this one. FanDuel Iowa also has some of the best customer service in sports betting. And like DraftKings, you can seamlessly play FanDuel DFS and bet at FanDuel Sportsbook using the same account and bankroll.

BetFred Iowa

  • Bonus: 100% match up to $1,000
  • App: iOS, Android, Web Browser
  • Why We Like The FanDuel App: FanDuel Iowa offers a wide range of fantastic odds and promotions on one of the highest rated platforms in the App Store.

BetFred, the UK sports betting app, has years of experience in the industry; however, its odds don’t compare to other more popular sportsbook apps like DraftKings and FanDuel. Still, Iowa bettors will find a good selection of international sports in addition to popular American sports, so it’s worth checking out when line shopping.

PointsBet Iowa

PointsBet Sportsbook Iowa is the type of place you want to check on a daily basis for a new promotional offer. It consistently wows with its creativity and diverse offerings, including exclusive bet boosters, “no vig” promos, and bet insurance. PointsBet Iowa may not have the brand recognition of some of the others, but most Iowa bettors will quickly see why it’s among the best.

Full List Of Iowa Sportsbook Apps

Iowa offers the following nine sportsbook apps and sites, with another expected sometime later in 2021:

  • BallyBet
  • Betfred
  • BetMGM
  • BetRivers
  • DraftKings
  • ELITE Sportsbook
  • FanDuel Sportsbook
  • Hard Rock Online
  • PointsBet
  • Q Sportsbook
  • Caesars Sportsbook
  • Unibet

Everything You Need To Know About Sports Betting In Iowa

What Can I Bet On In Iowa

You can bet on almost anything in Iowa that you can bet on in any other state. The only notable limitation is a restriction on in-game betting on in-state colleges. Everything else seems to be available.

You can find a complete Approved Sports Wagering List directly on the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission website.

But beyond all major league sports, NCAA basketball and football, and mainstream international competitions, you can bet on the following more obscure events in Iowa:

  • Olympics (Team Events Only)
  • Premier Lacrosse League
  • Jai-Alai
  • NCAA Wrestling
  • Professional Bull Riding

The list goes on, and the Gaming Commission can add to the list at any time per requests from sports betting operators.

Iowa Sports Betting Laws

Iowa sports betting laws are straightforward and standard across most states with legal online sports betting. You must be:

  • At least 21 years old
  • Located within state lines while placing a bet
  • Unaffiliated with the competing teams or players

You no longer have to go to a sports betting app’s brick-and-mortar property to register for an account. The in-person registration requirement expired on January 1, 2021.

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.

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 one free bet, multiple free bets, or 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

Most Iowa casinos have an in-house sportsbook, but not all of them. If you’re trying to travel to the closest retail sportsbook, make sure the casino nearest you 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.

Some of the biggest casinos in the state with retail sports betting include:

  • Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino (Caesars Sportsbook)
  • Horseshoe Casino Council Bluffs (Caesars Sportsbook)
  • Riverside Casino & Golf Resort (ELITE Sportsbook)

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. In May 2021, Iowa sports bettors placed over $114.9 million in total wagers. And the trend is supposed to hold steady or pick up from there, especially given the expiration of in-person registration.

Top Iowa Online Casino Apps

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

  • Funzpoints

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

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 other sweepstakes sites 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

Currently, there aren’t any options for online poker in Iowa. Enthusiasts can look at sweepstakes poker sites for the chance to win real money.

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 search the app in the App Store or Google Play store, or use the direct links on the sportsbook’s website. 

Remember to download the app specific to your state. For example, BetRivers Iowa is separate from BetRivers in another state.

2. Verify Location Within Iowa

You’ll then 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 FAQs 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.

3. 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, 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 offers legal sports betting at licensed sportsbook apps and sites. You can also bet in-person at brick-and-mortar casinos across the state. You must be at least 21 years old and physically located within Iowa state lines to place a sports bet.

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

Yes, it makes sense to shop around for the best sports betting odds before you place a bet. There’s no law in Iowa against someone registering for more than one sports betting account. Apps like FanDuel, BetMGM, and BetRivers are always good to have on your device for quick checking.

Can I bet on my mobile device in Iowa?

Yes. Once you’ve signed up, confirmed your account, and verified your location, you can bet via mobile device. 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. You can also search for it in the App Store for iOS devices or the Google Play store for Android devices.

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

21+. Anyone 21 or above can legally bet online in Iowa. That includes people from out-of-state and even international visitors. The age requirement for DFS and horse racing is also 21 and up, which is unique to Iowa. Most states allow 18 and up for DFS and horse race betting.

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 no-deposit bonus of a small amount, usually between $10-$25.

How many different sports betting sites does Iowa have?

Eleven. Iowa currently has 11 live online sports betting apps and sites. The current list includes BallyBet, Betfred, BetMGM, BetRivers, DraftKings, ELITE Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, Hard Rock Online, PointsBet, Q Sportsbook, and Caesars Sportsbook. Unibet is also expected to launch by the fall.

 

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.