Want to know about the best online Iowa betting sites? Read this guide to gambling laws, betting markets, and the top sportsbooks in the Hawkeye State.
If you’re looking to get started with Iowa betting online, then it’s a good idea to learn the ins and outs of the industry before you put your money on the line. Cue this guide from Gambling Spotlight, which provides a quick primer on everything you need to know about wagering online in Iowa. We’ll answer key questions like ‘Is sports betting legal in Iowa?’, highlight why it’s worth downloading Iowa betting apps, and point you in the direction of the top sportsbooks in the state. Read on, and you’ll be ready to bet on your favorite markets in no time.
Are online betting sites legal in Iowa?
It sure is. The Hawkeye State has been a full-service sports betting state since May 2019, when Governor Kim Reynolds signed the relevant legislation into law. That milestone came one year after the Supreme Court overturned PASPA, the federal law which had long prohibited sports betting across much of the United States.
The first sportsbooks went live in August 2019, and the betting process in the Hawkeye State has been streamlined since then. Registering at online sportsbooks initially required bettors to turn up in person at land-based casinos, but that stipulation is, thankfully, no more. You can now sign up via the sportsbook’s website or app wherever you are. Once registered, you’ll be able to place real-money bets as long as you’re over 21 and physically located within state lines.
Why play at a licensed Iowa online betting site?
All Iowa sports betting sites must be licensed by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC). This legal obligation means gambling operators must go through rigorous checks to ensure they operate with integrity and provide a safe, fair online space where you can enjoy sports betting. By sticking to licensed sportsbooks, you’ll know that your details will be secure and that the operator will be held accountable if anything goes wrong.
Why should I avoid offshore online sportsbooks?
While no law in the Hawkeye State explicitly forbids betting at offshore sportsbooks, it’s not something that our experts would ever recommend. As offshore gambling providers don’t have to go through the checks and balances required by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, you can’t be sure they’ll provide fair odds, reasonable terms and conditions, and prompt payouts. Customer service may be slow or absent, and you run the risk of falling victim to fraud. What’s more, you may struggle to escalate any complaints if an offshore sportsbook fails to honor your winnings or behaves negligently.
How to identify a legal online betting site in Iowa
It’s pretty simple to double-check if the Iowa betting site you’re thinking of joining is a legit operation. Check the homepage: you should see it clearly stated that the site is licensed by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. Alternatively, you can click over to the IRGC website, which has a list of all the licensees currently allowed to operate in this corner of the Midwest. All the sites recommended for Iowa players at Gambling Spotlight are licensed for customers in the state.
Which online betting sites can Iowa residents play at?
Sportsbooks might have only been legal in Iowa for a few years, but there’s already a good number to pick from. Here are some of our favorites:
DraftKings launched its fully-fledged online sportsbook in Iowa back in early 2020 and is one of the most recognized names in the state when it comes to sports wagering. You can get stuck into a wide range of betting markets here, covering everything from the NBA and MLB to top international draws like the English Premier League and the Australian Football League.
New users can give their starting bankrolls a boost thanks to a 20% matched deposit bonus of up to $1,000. Plus, if your first bet is a minimum $1 moneyline on any NFL, NBA, college football, or college basketball game, you’ll get $100 in free bet credits if either team scores.
FanDuel is another well-known stalwart of the US sports betting scene. Like long-time rival DraftKings, the daily fantasy sports giant joined the lineup of Iowa betting sites in 2020, offering an attractive interface and broad sports coverage. There are also plenty of useful perks here, including live streaming of big events like NCAAB games, and a tool that lets you put together single game parlay bets to maximize potential returns.
The current welcome offer is an initial risk-free bet up to $1,000. So, if your first wager doesn’t go your way, FanDuel will return the whole value up to that max value in the form of bet credits.
Launching in the Hawkeye State in 2021, BetMGM is quite the looker among Iowa betting sites, boasting a glossy interface with gold and black accents. BetMGM backs this style up with plenty of substance, offering pre-game and in-play moneylines, props, futures, and other wagers on sports that run the gamut from football to boxing.
Newcomers will have some of the pressure taken off as your first bet is risk-free up to a $1,000 max. Ongoing promos for existing players include parlay insurance on college football games and a $10 free bet if you make at least $50 in qualifying wagers in the preceding week.
Making waves in many states where sports betting has been legalized, BetRivers officially launched in Iowa at the turn of 2021. This sportsbook creates an immersive online betting experience by offering live streams of many games, as well as a popular loyalty program called iRush Rewards – which gives you the potential to unlock bonuses, birthday gifts, and branded BetRivers swag.
On top of that, there’s a solid matched deposit welcome bonus of 100% up to $250, the option to get a $10 NFL free bet by placing a minimum $25 NHL wager, and regular profit boosts.
Planting its flag in Iowa in 2021, Unibet is a great choice for bettors on the hunt for a sportsbook with a clean, stripped-back interface with an emphasis squarely on betting markets. You can get things off to a safe start with the $500 risk-free welcome offer, and then help yourself to ongoing perks like daily odds boosts and the option to grab a $10 free bet by placing five or more live bets in a given week.
Whether your passion is hockey, baseball, UFC, or other popular sports, you’ll find plenty to wager on at Unibet.
Iowa’s land-based bookmakers
If you enjoy wagering in person as well as online, here are the sportsbook venues that should be on your radar in Iowa. Note that, while Native American tribal casinos do operate in the state, sportsbooks are only currently open at commercial venues.
|Name of venue||Address|
|Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City||111 3rd St, Sioux City, IA 51101|
|Catfish Bend Casino||3001 Winegard Dr, Burlington, IA 52601|
|Casino Queen Marquette||100 Anti Monopoly, Marquette, IA 52158|
|Ameristar Casino Hotel||Ameristar Ave, Council Bluffs, IA 51501|
|Diamond Jo Worth Casino||777 Diamond Jo Ln, Northwood, IA 50459|
|Diamond Jo Casino||301 Bell St, Dubuque, IA 52001|
|Harrah’s Council Bluffs||1 Harrah’s Blvd, Council Bluffs, IA 51501|
|Horseshoe Council Bluffs Casino||2701 23rd Ave, Council Bluffs, IA 51501|
|Isle Casino Bettendorf||1777 Isle Pkwy, Bettendorf, IA 52722|
|Lakeside Hotel Casino||777 Casino Dr, Osceola, IA 50213|
|Prairie Meadows Casino||1 Prairie Meadows Dr, Altoona, IA 50009|
|Q Casino||1855 Greyhound Park Rd, Dubuque, IA 52001|
|Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo||777 Isle of Capri Blvd, Waterloo, IA 50701|
|Rhythm City Casino Resort||7077 Elmore Avenue, Davenport, IA 52807|
|Riverside Casino And Golf Resort||3184 IA-22, Riverside, IA 52327|
|Wild Rose Casino & Resort Clinton||777 Wild Rose Dr, Clinton, IA 52732|
|Wild Rose Casino & Resort Emmetsburg||777 Main St, Emmetsburg, IA 50536|
|Wild Rose Casino & Resort Jefferson||777 Wild Rose Rd, Jefferson, IA 50129|
|Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort||1415 Grand Falls Blvd, Larchwood, IA 51241|
How to bet on sports with real money
Now that in-person registration is no longer required, it’s a breeze to get set up at Iowa betting sites. Just follow these steps:
- Search and compare all the sportsbooks that are currently licensed to operate in Iowa using Gambling Spotlight. We’ve made it easy to weigh up the welcome bonuses and other attributes of each site, so you can make the right choice for you.
- Click on our link to your preferred Iowa betting site and you’ll be whisked to the registration page. Here, you’ll just have to enter some basic details and verify your identity. You may have to enter a promo code to access the welcome bonus at this point.
- If there are any no deposit bonuses on offer, you should get them once registration is complete. If not, you’ll need to add some money to your account by heading over to the cashier and choosing the deposit method that suits you. A minimum first deposit or bet may be required for the welcome bonus at some sportsbooks.
- These days, most payment methods process instantly, so you should be able to start betting right away. Good luck!
Which sports can I bet on in Iowa?
The best Iowa online betting sites offer a real variety of sports. Here’s a list of some markets you’ll typically be able to bet on.
- Football (incl. NFL)
- Basketball (incl. NBA)
- Baseball (incl. MLB)
- Hockey (incl. NHL)
- Soccer (incl. MLS)
- Motorsports (incl. NASCAR)
Lots of sites also offer betting on college sports in the Hawkeye State. However, prop bets on individual players aren’t allowed for events featuring in-state college teams.
Local sports teams to bet on
Although the Hawkeye State doesn’t have any major league teams for you to back, you can follow these local college sports heroes at Iowa betting sites
- Iowa Hawkeyes
- Iowa State Cyclones
- Northern Iowa Panthers
- Drake Bulldogs
Iowa sports betting sites keep things interesting by letting you wager on various aspects of sports events. Here are some of the most popular available bet types:
- Moneylines – The classic win/lose wager. All you have to do is pick what side or athlete you think will come out on top.
- Point Spreads – This bet type applies a points deficit for the favorite to overcome, and an allowable margin of points the underdog can lose by. This makes it more exciting to wager on events where there’s a clear strength disparity between the competitors.
- Props – Bets on outcomes unrelated to the overall result, such as which player will score the most points.
- Totals – Also known as over/unders, you’ll bet on whether a particular statistic, such as the number of overall points in a game, will end up above or below a certain figure.
- Live Betting – This market lets you place bets while an event is actually happening. For example, who’ll score the next goal in a game of soccer?
- Futures – Bets made on sports events that will happen in the future, such as which team will triumph in the next World Series.
- Parlays – This is when you combine two or more selections (legs) on the same ticket. The odds will increase considerably with each selection you add, so you’ll get a potentially bigger return if all your legs come good. If even one loses, however, the bet won’t payout at all.
Mobile betting apps in Iowa
Don’t worry, there’s no need to fire up the desktop every time you want to place a wager on the Hawkeyes or the Cyclones. You can simply open up the sportsbook’s mobile-optimized site on your phone or tablet’s browser. You can even go one better by downloading native betting apps which are offered by several Iowa betting sites including DraftKings, Unibet, and BetMGM.
Mobile sportsbook apps provide the smoothest possible on-the-go experience. Apps are customized for use on iOS and Android operating systems and allow quick access to markets without having to go via a web browser. Plus, you can activate push notifications to keep you updated on the progress of your bets and receive news of the latest bonuses.
Iowa betting payment methods
There’s a good range of different payment methods you can use to fund your online Iowa sports betting account. Here’s a look at some of the most regular banking options:
Not all Iowa betting sites offer all of the payment methods below, but most have at least a couple. The good news is that the majority of deposits will land in your account instantly. Note that credit cards cannot be used for gambling transactions in Iowa.
- Debit cards including Visa and Mastercard
- Prepaid Play+ cards
- Cash deposits at affiliated land-based casinos
- Online bank transfer
These are the methods you can use to withdraw from a betting site in Iowa. The number of available cashout options, and the time you have to wait for withdrawals to be processed, will differ between sites.
- Cash withdrawals at affiliated land-based casinos
- Prepaid Play+ cards
- Check by mail
- Online bank transfer
History of gambling in Iowa
Check out the key dates in the legalization of sports gambling in Iowa below:
2018 – The Supreme Court rules that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or PASPA, is unconstitutional. This paves the way for all state legislatures to legalize sports gambling if they so wish.
2019 – Senator Roby Smith and Iowa State Representative Bobby Kaufmann sponsor bill SF 617, which would allow for betting on sports in Iowa. It passes in both the Senate and the House, before being signed into law by Gov. Kim Reynolds almost a year to the day that PASPA was overturned.
2021 – Remote registration of betting accounts is finally allowed, meaning people no longer need to attend an in-person venue to register at an online sportsbook.
Problem gambling support in Iowa
It’s always important to gamble responsibly. If you find that you’re betting beyond your means, chasing your losses, and/or feeling stressed and agitated when you aren’t able to gamble, it may be worth seeking support from the following organizations:
Your Life Iowa
National Council on Problem Gambling
Get started with sports betting in Iowa
Ready to place your first wager at an Iowa betting app or website? You can get started by checking out GamblingSpotlight’s rundown of the top options in the Hawkeye State. We have all the important information right here, so you can compare options and decide which you’d like to try.
Is sports betting legal in Iowa?
Yes, sports betting has been legal in Iowa since 2019. You can wager on sports at both land-based casinos in the Hawkeye State and online with Iowa betting sites.
How do I know if I’m playing at a licensed Iowa online sportsbook?
Sites that have a license from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission make this fact clear on their homepage. Alternatively, you can rest assured that our reviewers here at Gambling Spotlight only list providers that are fully licensed in the state.
Will I be taxed for my gambling winnings?
Yes. Gambling winnings are subject to both state and federal taxes.
What other forms of gambling are allowed in Iowa?
Horse racing betting, fantasy sports, and casino gambling at land-based venues are all permitted in Iowa. You can also play real money, land-based bingo, and bet on lottery draws.
Do you need to be in Iowa to play at an Iowa online sportsbook?
Yes, you’ll need to be physically located in Iowa to place real money sports wagers. Geolocation technology is used to confirm you’re eligible to bet.
Is Iowa online betting fair?
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission oversees licensed sportsbooks in Iowa, so you can feel confident that all regulated sites are fair. The same can’t be said for unregulated, offshore sites, though.
Which is the best online betting site in Iowa?
We list and compare all the top Iowa betting sites at GamblingSpotlight, and each one has plenty to recommend it. Deciding which one is best comes down to your personal preferences. You may like one site’s risk-free welcome bonus more than another site’s matched deposit offer, for example. Or, you may particularly enjoy the interface of a particular sportsbook. You can always sign up to a couple of Iowa betting sites to see which one is best for you.
Are there any new online betting sites in Iowa?
It’s still early days in the world of Iowa sports betting online, but one of the latest arrivals on the scene is Unibet, which launched in September 2021.