Iowa sports betting was off and running in August 2019 after lawmakers in the state legalized the industry in May of that year. Iowa is never going to be a state that puts up huge sports betting numbers. However, the state has plenty of options for bettors.
Both retail and online sports betting are available in the state of Iowa. Most bettors tend to hit up mobile sportsbook apps when placing bets. There are plenty of retail and online sports betting options available. However, the state is starting to reach its limit for the number of operators.
There was a strange law in place in Iowa for a few years that kept the industry from taking off. Now that sports bettors are free to sign up for new accounts at online sportsbooks, things have started to take off again.
Sportsbooks in Iowa don’t get any help from professional sports teams, as there are none in the state. Iowa is surrounded by states with popular professional teams. Sports fans in the state continue to flock to sportsbooks to make wagers.
History Behind Legal Sports Betting
Lawmakers in Iowa started to explore legal sports betting in early 2018, as they were hoping to have a bill in place that year. There was a provision in that first piece of legislation that would have allowed for sports betting to launch as soon as the federal ban was lifted.
The federal ban was indeed lifted in 2018, but lawmakers in the state were unable to get a bill passed. Things picked up pretty quickly in 2019, though, and Governor Kim Reynolds officially legalized sports betting in May 2019.
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission was able to get the industry up and running in a hurry. Sportsbooks first went live in August 2019. Other states have found it to be nearly impossible to get sports betting up and running that quickly after a launch.
When sports betting was first launched, there was a rule in place that severely restricted online sports betting. All new customers were forced to complete the registration process at a retail casino before they could start betting online.
That rule has since gone away, and the rest of the Iowa sports betting laws are pretty favorable. Betting is available on a wide range of professional sporting events, and bettors can also place a bet on college sporting events, including on in-state college teams.
Financial History Behind Legal Sports Betting in Iowa
The overall sports betting numbers from the state of Iowa compare very favorably to other markets, at least when looking at things from the big picture. That’s not always the case each month. Some of the Iowa monthly numbers just don’t compare with other states.
The total sports betting handle in Iowa is up over $5.1 billion, and there are only a handful of states that have gone over the $5 billion mark. Total sports betting revenue is currently sitting at $340.3 million. However, sportsbooks haven’t performed as well as they would have liked.
The national hold rate is approaching eight percent for sports betting markets in the United States, but Iowa sportsbooks haven’t fared as well. The Iowa all-time hold rate is at just 6.6%, and that has kept the overall revenue numbers down.
Sports betting was initially legalized as a way to bring in a new source of revenue, and that has happened up to this point. Tax revenue is now sitting at $24.8 million all-time, but sportsbooks can bring in even better numbers if they start winning more wagers.
Sportsbook Apps in Iowa
The Iowa sports betting law allows all retail sportsbook locations to apply for an online sports betting license, and that has been a common practice since August 2019. The state of Iowa has been able to attract all of the biggest names in sports betting, but there has been some movement in recent months.
There have been a couple of different mobile sports betting operators that have left Iowa recently for different reasons. That has then opened up those licenses, and some new companies have since entered the market.
When it comes to online sports betting in Iowa, all of the companies have some sort of mobile app that can be downloaded on either Android or iOS devices. This is a highly competitive market as well, but there are a couple of mobile sports betting operators that stand out.
The battle between DraftKings and FanDuel is extremely tight in Iowa. It’s tighter here than it is anywhere else in the sports betting industry. Other operators, such as BetMGM and Caesars, continue to put up some impressive numbers as well.
Here is a current list of sportsbook apps that can be found in the state of Iowa:
- Bally Bet Sportsbook
- Betfred Sportsbook
- BetMGM Sportsbook
- BetRivers Sportsbook
- Betway Sportsbook
- Caesars Sportsbook
- Circa Sportsbook
- DraftKings Sportsbook
- DRF Sportsbook
- ESPN Bet
- FanDuel Sportsbook
- Hard Rock Sportsbook
- Q Sportsbook
- Tipico Sportsbook
Retail Sports Betting Locations
Since both online and retail sports betting launched in Iowa on the same day, retail wagering has always sort of taken a back seat. That doesn’t mean that bettors won’t find plenty of retail options in the state because there is a complete list available.
The casinos in the state were all allowed to apply for a retail sports betting license, and that has happened. Some of these casinos are commercial properties, but there are also some Native American or tribal casinos as well.
All sports betting license applications must go through the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission before they can be granted a license.
Here is a list of the retail locations that offer retail sports betting in the state of Iowa:
- Ameristar Casino
- Catfish Bend Casino
- Diamond Jo Casino
- Diamond Jo Worth
- Grand Falls Casino
- Hard Rock Sioux City
- Harrah’s Council Bluffs
- Horseshoe Casino
- Isle Casino Bettendorf
- Isle Casino Waterloo
- Lakeside Casino
- Prairie Meadows
- Q Casino
- Rhythm City Casino
- Riverside Casino
- Wild Rose Clinton
- Wild Rose Emmetsburg
- Wild Rose Jefferson
Sports Teams to Bet on in Iowa
Most of the states that have legal sports betting are given a nice boost by the professional sports teams located in the state. That’s not the case in Iowa, though, as you won’t find any major professional sports team.
Even though there aren’t any major professional sports teams in the state, sports fans in Iowa still have some good options to root for. Sports fans in Iowa typically look to teams from the states of Illinois, Missouri, and Minnesota.
When it comes to the NFL, the Chicago Bears and Kansas City Chiefs are two of the most popular teams. Some fans go a little further and support the Minnesota Vikings or Green Bay Packers.
The NBA is the second-most popular league to wager on in the United States, and the Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves are popular with fans in Iowa.
Iowa baseball fans tend to split their allegiances between the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals. One reason that the Cubs are popular in this state is that the Iowa Cubs are the Triple-AAA team in the Cubs system.
Hockey fans in Iowa tend to follow the St. Louis Blues or the Minnesota Wild. Minnesota’s AHL affiliate, the Iowa Wild, plays its home games in Des Moines. Hockey is not a sport that generates a ton of wagers in Iowa or throughout the United States.
Since betting on college sports is available in the Hawkeye State, some of the biggest colleges and universities are very attractive to sports bettors. That is especially true when it comes time for basketball and football, but you might see some other options available as well.
Among the colleges and universities that are popular in the state of Iowa it is the Iowa Hawkeyes and Iowa State Cyclones are the biggest names.
FAQ for betting in Iowa
When did sports betting launch in Iowa?
Both online and retail sports betting launched in Iowa in August 2019. By going live in August, sportsbooks were set up in time for college football and the NFL.
Can I place a bet through an Iowa sportsbook app?
Yes, online sports betting is legal in the state of Iowa, and that allows operators to launch mobile sportsbook apps. More than 90% of wagers each month are placed through online sportsbook apps. Most of the top operators in the industry have gone live in Iowa.
Is betting on in-state college teams legal in Iowa?
Yes, sportsbooks in Iowa can offer betting on in-state college teams. College sports betting has been a major topic of discussion in most states that have legal sports betting. When it comes to betting on college sports, basketball and football are sports that tend to attract the most wagers.
What is the legal sports betting age in Iowa?
The minimum age required to bet on sports in the state of Iowa is 21 years of age.
Do I have to live in Iowa to make a bet?
No, the sports betting options in the state of Iowa are not limited to residents of the state. Creating an account can be done from anywhere. However, you will have to be physically in the state before you can make a wage. Geolocation services track your physical location.