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Iowa Sports Betting: Officially Live & Fully Online 2021
Iowa Becomes a Fully Online Sports Betting StateJan. 1, 2021
For nearly two years, Iowans had to register for a sports betting account in person at a casino. As of the new year, however, that rule has been lifted, and anyone within state lines can sign up, deposit and bet online.
Remote Registration to Begin on Friday, Jan. 1Dec. 31, 2020
Iowa sports betting will start the new year with an easier online registration process and a brand-new sportsbook.
Record Sports Betting Handles in Iowa for NovemberDecember 11, 2020
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission on Monday reported a record-breaking $87.2 million in wagers accepted. Historically, around 70% of this has been driven by mobile sports betting.
Iowa sports betting is live--with some hurdlesAugust 15, 2019
Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission approved the final rules, and sports betting went live in Iowa on August 15, 2019. Sports bettors must register in person, then they can bet online and via mobile. Wes Ehrecke, president and CRO of the Iowa Gaming Association, said it was a necessary compromise to get the bill through: “This just gave that comfort level for legislators, as well that there’s going to be this time frame to get things established.” The Iowa Gaming Association plans to lift the registration condition after 18 months.
DraftKings Sportsbook is available to Iowa sports fans 21+ as of February 2020, after in-person registration at any of the three Wild Rose Casinos (located in Jefferson, Clinton, and Emmetsburg).
DraftKings has a fantastic selection of NFL player props. It is also the first book in most U.S. states to post college football lines for the following week and has one of the best mobile apps in the market.
Iowa sports fans can sign up for PointsBet at Catfish Bend Casino in Burlington, an upscale, state of the art sports bar and casino with an odds display wall, slot machines, and blackjack tables.
PointsBet's app and site stand out as one of the best in the U.S. with its sleek mobile design. They offer great promotions and daily boosters, including some of the best odds for the popular spread and over/under bets.
William Hill US is expanding its footprint in Iowa through its partnership with Caesars Entertainment--this makes William Hill connected online sportsbook in the state. Sports fans who visit any of the following locations can register today:
- Prairie Meadows Casino in Altoona
- Lakeside Casino in Osceola
- Isle Casino Bettendorf in Bettendorf
- Isle Casino Waterloo in Waterloo
Once registered, bettors can log into the mobile William Hill app and place bets from anywhere in the state via their mobile app.
William Hill has a strong live betting experience, They also offer interesting in-game markets in their app, which are becoming more and more popular in U.S. betting.
In partnership with Boyd Gaming, FanDuel Sportsbook has added Iowa as a newly available state. To activate an online FanDuel Sportsbook account, sports fans will need to visit a FanDuel Sportsbook location at Diamond Jo Casino in either Dubuque or Northwood, Iowa to complete their registration.
FanDuel offers one of the easiest start-to-finish registration and deposit experiences in the sportsbook market. Its biggest downsides are usability related--it can be difficult to find smaller markets like props because they're buried so far in each game.
Elite Sportsbook is powered by Bet.Works platform and has three land-based partners: Grand Falls, Rhythm City, and Riverside Casino, all owned by Elite Casino Resorts.
Q Sportsbook's Casino Partner is Q Casino in Dubuque--but it accepts wagers solely rough their mobile app.
Hard Rock Sportsbook has a land foothold in Iowa with Casino Hard Rock Sioux City. Hard Rock uses GiG (Gaming Innovation Group) platform, and offers a full range betting options in their mobile app.
Unibet Sportsbook's landbased partners in Iowa are Harrah’s Council Bluff and Horseshoe Council Bluff.
How Iowa Sports Betting Compares
In Iowa, sports betting is legal — with some extra in-person steps sports bettors must take to register at a new sportsbook. However, the Iowa betting landscape is rapidly changing as 2021 draws near. Here's what we know so far:
Mobile Betting Options: B+
Mobile betting is live in Iowa, and bettors no longer have to register in person at the retail casino partner. Top national betting brands such as DraftKings, PointsBet, FanDuel and William Hill are available mobile apps, meaning there are diverse options — always better for the sports bettors. Additionally, more locally-focused brands such as the Q Casino sportsbook and the Hard Rock Sioux City sportsbook are available.
All legal sportsbooks in Iowa have multiple deposit options (e.g., bank account, debit card, etc.), most of which are familiar to bettors in other states. Once the mobile registration mandate is lifted in 2021, customers can complete a first deposit and wager from the comforts of home.
Fair Pricing: B+
The competitive market helps ensure Iowa's customers will have industry-standard lines. Reasonable taxes and fees also allow legal sportsbooks to offer lines without having to juice certain teams one way or another. With a low tax rate and diverse sportsbook options, so far so good in Iowa.
Sport Offerings: A-
Iowa bettors have a full array of mobile betting options, excluding individual prop bets on college games. This is a minor part of sportsbooks' total offerings and hasn't stopped top Iowa books from offering bets on hundreds of leagues and literally thousands of games. There are also plenty of parlays, teasers and other options. The only limits are on certain college player prop bets, so overall the offerings are among the best in the country.
Iowa's Sportsbetting Finance Breakdown
Some states, like Tennessee, make the bar quite high to offer sports betting. Iowa is much simpler. Under Iowa law, licensed casinos:
- Must pay a $45,000 license fee with an annual $10,000 renewal fee
- A 6.75% tax will be imposed on the casinos' hold
From what we've seen so far, sports betting is healthily contributing to Iowa's gaming market growth. In their annual casino industry report, the American Gaming Association found:
"In 2019, total statewide commercial casino gaming revenue was $1.49 billion, up 1.3 percent. The year-over-year increase came after the launch of sports betting in August."
- American Gaming Association, 2020 State of the States
- Mobile sports betting is available now without in-person registration
- Taxes are low to operate - this results in a more competitive offering for sports bettors
- The state boasts a wide selection of sportsbooks with physical locations near major cities in bordering states
- Early In-person registration commitment meant some books now offer full-service lounges and kiosks
- Iowa steered clear of the controversial league "integrity fees"
- No wagering on individual players from Iowa’s in-state college teams or on players playing against an in-state team for that game -- known as "prop bets."
- Sportsbooks are tied to physical casinos, and only 15 Iowa counties have state-sanctioned casinos. Many gamblers come from the other 84 counties, but there are concerns about having less financial benefit for their home counties. This is perceived as unfair in many Iowan circles.
Iowa Sports Betting FAQ
Are there taxes on sports betting winnings in Iowa?
Gambling winnings are taxable in Iowa, even if the winner is not an Iowa resident. The gross receipts are subject to state sales tax and local option sales taxes. It's important to get the details right when it comes to taxes--you can check directly with the Iowa authority here.
When did sports betting become legal in Iowa?
On May 20, Iowa officially legalized sports betting. This is when Govenor Kim Reynolds signed SF 617 , a bill regulating sports wagering within the state.
Can you bet on college sports in Iowa?
Yes! You can bet on college sports in Iowa, including the state’s popular teams like Iowa and Iowa State. However, individual player prop bets during games involving in-state schools are not allowed.
What types of bets can I place in Iowa?
After an in-person sign-up, these popular bet types are available in Iowa:
- Moneylines: A moneyline in American odds is centered around winning or wagering $100 on a given bet. Here's a guide on how to place moneyline bets.
- Parlays: A parlay is a wager type in which several bets are linked together with a greater potential payout. Here's a 101 on parlay betting and a calculator.
- Props: A prop bet is a wager that is not directly tied to the final score or final outcome of a game. It’s short for “proposition bet.” Check out our guide on prop betting. Note: in-state prop betting on college games are restricted.
- Point Spreads: A point spread is a bet on the margin of victory in a given game, favoring the stronger team. Here are the details on spread betting.
- Totals: A total, also referred to as an over/under, is a bet on the number of points both teams will combine to score in a game. Learn more about totals.
- Futures: A futures bet is a bet on an event that will be decided in the future. Check out our educational guide to learn more.
Can I bet on sporting events with my mobile phone in Iowa?
Yes, using your sportsbook mobile app of choice, you can use your mobile phone to make online sports bets in Iowa.
Who is in charge of sports betting in Iowa?
The regulator is the existing Iowa Regulatory Gaming Commission (IRGC).
How old do you have to be to bet in Iowa?
You need to be 21 years old to bet.
What sports can you bet on in Iowa?
Iowa sports bettors can enjoy placing bets on:
- Baseball: MLB, D1 College Baseball, Minor League Baseball
- Basketball: NBA, WNBA, D1 College Basketball, Euro League &Euro Cup & International Basketball Federation
- Football: NFL, D1 College Football, Canadian Football League, Arena Football League
- Golf: The PGA, PGA Tour Champions, LPGA, Champion’s Tour, European Tour & Senior European Tour, International Events (e.g., The Presidents Cup), World Golf Championships, and the Koran Ferry Tour
- Hockey: National Hockey League, D1 College Hockey, International Ice Hockey Federation, World Championships
- Soccer: FIFA Events, Major League Soccer, UEFA – Champions League, EUROPA and Super Cup, English Premier League, German Bundesliga, Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A, French Ligue 1, Mexican Liga Bancomer, D1 College Soccer.
Additionally, the following are available to bet on: Auto Racing, Bowling, Boxing, Cricket, Darts, Lacrosse, MMA, The Olympics, Rugby, Sailing, Softball, Tennis, Track and Field. The major exception to keep in mind in Iowa are the limitations on in-state prop betting on college sports.
Sports Betting for Iowa Beginners
If you’re new to sports betting in Iowa, you likely have questions. Our 11 sports betting tips for beginners can help you make savvier decisions come game time. Ready to really get in on the action in the Hawkeye state? Check out our comprehensive educational hub for all a new Iowan sports bettor needs to know.
Sports Betting Glossary
Sports betting comes with its own language and terminology. It can all be a bit overwhelming and intimidating for newer betting enthusiasts, so be sure to consult our sports betting glossary for detailed definitions of all the main terms.
Sports Betting Mistakes to Avoid in Iowa
Sports betting isn't easy. It’s important to stay disciplined and not overextend yourself, even if you are betting on favorite teams like the Cyclones.
There will always be ups and downs, but if you stay true to our nine mistakes to avoid, your sports betting experience will be a much more enjoyable one.
Iowa Sports Betting Timeline
January 1, 2021
Iowa Teams to Bet on
Iowa has proud sports traditions and longstanding rivalries inside and outside the state. We expect big bets to be placed on these Iowa college games in the future.
College Football Betting in Iowa
The Bulldogs are a D1 team and compete in the non-scholarship Pioneer Football League. Sports fans will be excited to know they've announced their 2021 PFL Spring Schedule, although it's considered "aspirational" — no one is sure if the full 2021 schedule can be played with COVID-19 status and variables. One notable team venture happened in 2010: the Bulldogs participated in the "Kilimanjaro Bowl," the first American Football game in Africa. The Bulldogs' team received the NCAS Giant Steps Award for their charity work while in Africa.
The Iowa Hawkeyes compete in the West division of the Big Ten Conference. Home games are held in Iowa City at Kinnick Stadium, and Kirk Ferentz has coached the team for two decades. Despite some news of positive COVID tests, but sadly before easy online registration is possible, the Hawkeyes are scheduled to play in the TransPerfect Music City bowl on Dec 30. The game is scheduled to be played in Nashville, Tennessee.
- Hawkeyes Rivalry #1: Iowa State. This annual, in-state head to head is for the "Cy-Hawk Trophy." To the dismay of Hawkeyes diehards, Iowa leads the overall series 45–22 through 2019.
- Hawkeyes Rivalry #2: Minnesota. Iowa plays Minnesota each year for the Floyd of Rosedale trophy. Local legend cites that Minnesota Governor Floyd Olson bet a prize pig that the Minnesota Gophers would win the game, which they did. After the death of the pig, its image was cast in bronze--certainly a unique trophy. Minnesota leads the trophy series 42–41–2.
Iowa State Cyclones, Iowa State University
The Cyclones are Iowa State's beloved football team. They're coached by Matt Campbell and compete in the Big 12. The Cyclones play home games at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa. ISU fans proudly remember that Iowa State University has taken on the 'Cyclones ' name after Chicago Tribune claimed the Northwestern football team had been “struck by a cyclone” in a 1985 game playing Iowa state.
- Cyclone Rivalry #1: The Hawkeyes. Everyone wants that Cy-Hawk Trophy!
- Cyclone Rivalry #2: Kansas State. This rivalry dates back decades, often with long-running winning streaks. Iowa State leads the series 51–49–4 through 2020.
Northern Iowa Panthers, University of Northern Iowa
The Northern Iowa Panthers are an NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), competing in the Missouri Valley Football Conference (WVFC). Home games are played at the UNI-Dome on campus in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Their Schedule has been moved to 2021 because of the pandemic--with their next game to be played Saturday, February 20, against Illinois State!
College Football Betting Resources
We've got a few recommended resources to help you bet on College Football in Iowa:
- College Football Betting Tips for Profitability - Advice to responsibly bet CFB, whether a new or seasoned sports bettor.
- College Football Betting Tips on Fading the Public - Betting against the majority in Iowa? Check out these insights.
- Action Data/Tools: College Football Odds, Picks, & Projections - Iowans can get the latest odds, experts picks, and data-driven projections from Action to make informed bets
College Basketball Betting in Iowa
Drake Bulldogs, Drake University
As of 2018, Darian DeVries as the Bulldogs head coach--leading the Bulldogs to a regular-season record of 23–8. The Drake Bulldogs maintain a highly-active news feed on their website--check here for the latest team news.
Iowa Hawkeyes, University of Iowa
The Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball team is a member of the Big Ten Conference, coached by Fran McCaffery. Their program was successful in the 70s, 80s, and 90s but has failed to return to similar levels in recent years. They currently play in the Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Iowa State Cyclones, Iowa State University
The Iowa State Cyclones compete in the Big 12 Conference and are Steve Prohm. The Cyclones play their home games at Hilton Coliseum on Iowa State's campus.
Northern Iowa Panthers, University of Northern Iowa
The Northern Iowa Panthers men's basketball team is a member of the Missouri Valley Conference. The school has several statewide and national rivalries, including Loyola, Bradley, Drake, and Missouri State. UNI plans to let Panther fans attend basketball games at McLeod Center following social distancing protocols, capacity restrictions, and additional COVID-19 safety measures.
College Basketball Betting Resources for Iowans
We've got a few recommended resources to help you bet wisely on College Basketball in Iowa:
- How to Bet on College Basketball - an introductory, sport-specific guide
- Trends to Know Before Betting Conference Tournaments - what to pay attention to before big game betting
- Action Data/Tools: College Basketball Odds & Picks - the latest odds & expert picks on NCAA games, with Iowa coverage
Division I Football & Basketball
Iowa doesn't have professional sports teams, but it has major pro sport fan bases! We've already seen engagement betting on pro teams in Iowa, and expect that to only grow.
MLB Betting in Iowa
The Des Moines Register found that the two most popular pro baseball teams in Iowa were the Royals, followed by the Cubs. However, as to baseball played in Iowa, there is a notable event to come. 'MLB at Field of Dreams' is a planned regular-season MLB game scheduled for August 2021 in Dyersville, held where the 1989 baseball movie was filmed. The game is to be between the Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees. It will be the first MLB game played in the state of Iowa, therefore the first to bet on in-state!
Kansas City Royals
The Chicago Cubs
NFL Betting in Iowa
At a 6-ish hour drive north, The Vikings are one of the closer pro football teams to Iowa. Therefore, they've grown a strong fan base and even contributed top Hawkeyes talent to the team like Defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson. The Vikings have a bittersweet reputation: they are (defensibly) the most successful NFL franchise to never win a Super Bowl.
Green Bay Packers
A few beloved Hawkeyes are now on the Packers, only furthering their indearment with Iowans: Cornerback Josh Jackson and Linebacker Christian Kirksey. The Packers are long-standing adversaries of the Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, and Detroit Lions--expect major bets to be placed on these matchups now that sports betting is legal in Iowa.
Recommended Resource: How to Bet on Football Guide
NBA Betting in Iowa
With a drive from Des Moines to Milwaukee clocking in at under six hours, many local Iowans have grown up as passionate Bucks fans. However, to the disappointment of local fans, games at Fiserv Forum in Wisconsin for the 2020-21 season will be held without fans until further notice due to COVID-19 safety considerations. After signing up in person at a local book, Iowa Bucks fans can watch and bet in the comfort of their own homes.
Recommended Resource: How to Bet On Basketball Guide
Iowa has a range of 'other' sporting events that draw local and national interest:
- The Drake Relays. Drake Relays are a track and field event held annually in April. Many Olympic Gold medalists have competed in this relay.
- Iowa Shrine Bowl. The Iowa Shrine Bowl is an all-star football game featuring Iowa’s most talented high school/pre-college football players. It's held every July in Cedar Falls.
These are a few of many events held throughout Iowa annually (when COVID permits).
Check our resource links for local sports coverage to find more events of interest.
More Reading on Iowa
Iowa's Sports Betting Legalization Bill
Senate File 617 (SF617). Introduced to the state Senate in April of 2019, SF617 legalized sports betting in Iowa.
Sports Betting Legal Bill Review
A legal perspective on the sports betting bill from a local lawyer: "Sports Betting is Almost Here in Iowa – Here’s What We Know " from BrownWinick attorney, Matt McKinney.
Sports Bettor Protections in Iowa
Local IA Sports Coverage
Iowa Locals aren't All Fans of Sports Betting
52% of Iowans opposed legalizing betting on professional sporting events, and 69% opposed legalizing betting on college sporting events. Learn more about local opinions from the Des Moines Register's poll.
State-Led Sports Betting Fiscal Analysis
Christin Mechler, a Fiscal Legislative Analyst II at the State of Iowa, and Angel Banks-Adams, another fiscal Legislative Analyst, prepared an overview of sports betting legislation. The presentation emphasized the taxation and structures that have been proposed nationwide, including in the State of Iowa.