Iowa Sports Betting

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Iowa legalized sports betting in May 2019, with the first sportsbook apps going live in August of the same year. While no major pro teams make their home in Iowa, the state still hosts a variety of online sportsbooks.

People in Iowa can choose from more than a dozen legal online sportsbooks that offer various bonuses to new customers. This is a complete look at the Iowa online sports betting market and all of the available sportsbook apps.

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What’s happening in Iowa sports betting right now?

  • Oct. 1, 2022 – The Iowa Hawkeyes and Iowa State Cyclones both lost their football games on Saturday. The Cyclones fell to the now No. 19 Kansas while the Hawkeyes fell to No. 4 Michigan.
  • Sept. 24, 2022 – The Iowa Hawkeyes will face their biggest test of the season so far this Saturday when they face off against No. 4 Michigan. Iowa State – which beat Iowa earlier this year – lost its first big test when it fell 31-24 to No. 17 Baylor.
  • Sept. 19, 2022 – Iowa is a popular destination for Minnesotans looking to bet legally but it sounds like some are sick of traveling. A new poll from the Minneapolis Star Tribune shows 48% of Minnesotans want to see sports betting legalized in their state. A third are against the issue while 19% were undecided.
  • Sept. 12, 2022 – There was $122.6 million bet in Iowa during August. That is up 13.1% from last August while revenue more than doubled to $14.4 million.
  • August 10, 2022 – Iowa sportsbooks reported $108.6 million in handle and $11.2 million in revenue for July. The 10.3% hold is the highest for the state since October 2020.
  • August 8, 2022 – The Field of Dreams game returns this week with the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds facing off Thursday.
  • August 3, 2022Betfred signed an exclusive partnership with the American Hockey League’s Iowa Wild. The deal includes digital, print, radio, TV and in-arena marketing exposure for Betfred.
  • July 8, 2022 – Iowa sportsbooks took $122.4 million in handle during June. The hold of 5.4% led to $6.6 million in revenue and nearly $450,000 in taxes.
  • July 6, 2022 – Betfred moved its Iowa sportsbook to OpenBet‘s technology stack. The change “simplifies things” and gives Betfred “more chance for success” in the state, according to US COO Bryan Bennett.

Comparing top Iowa sports betting apps

Prospective players have plenty of sports betting options to choose from in Iowa. Beyond the signup offers, set your sights on the books that have the most features that you want. Here is our list of the best sports betting sites in Iowa in some key areas:

  • Betting on major games and events: DraftKings, FanDuel. The industry giants are go-to sports betting apps for many bettors in Iowa, in part because of what they offer for the biggest games and tournaments.
  • Largest selection of sports: BetMGM, BetRivers. Top sportsbooks have a lot of options, but BetMGM and BetRivers tend to have the largest overall selections.
  • Competitive odds: Caesars, PointsBet. Caesars and PointsBet are regularly in line with or better than the market as a whole.
  • Sportsbooks with rewards programs: Caesars, BetRivers. Rewards programs are standard in the world of casino gambling, but not as commonplace for sports betting. Caesars and BetRivers are two of the exceptions to that rule. The two have simple rewards programs that allow bettors to accrue points based on their play.     
  • Best sportsbooks for promos: BetMGM, Caesars. BetMGM and Caesars do a solid job on this front, with a regular array of promotions for existing players.

1. DraftKings Sportsbook

DraftKings Sportsbook offers a smooth app filled with features. Top highlights include the Flash Bet option for live wagers and betting pools where you can see how you stack up against other bettors for a chance to win prizes. While DraftKings has a solid signup bonus, it could improve with more regular promos.

  • App rating: 4.9 (iOS), 4.8 (Android)
  • Key takeaway: Great UX makes for a slick betting platform.  
  • Best feature: Betting pools
  • Bonus offer: $1,000

2. Caesars Sportsbook

Caesars regularly dishes out promos for existing players, while the odds are typically competitive up and down the menu. On the downside, the sportsbook app can lag at times, and some users have expressed frustration with customer service wait times.

  • App rating: 4.6 (iOS), 4.4 (Android)
  • Key takeaway: Competitive odds from a trusted brand name.
  • Best feature: Regular promos
  • Bonus offer: $1,250

3. BetMGM Sportsbook

BetMGM offers sports you likely won’t find at many other books, such as snooker. If you’re looking to bet on a sport that attracts a decent amount of interest, there’s a good chance you’ll find it here. The website layout could be more efficient, but the app experience is generally solid.

  • App rating: 4.8 (iOS), 4.4 (Android)
  • Key takeaway: Bet on a wide range of sports.  
  • Best feature: Edit my bet
  • Bonus offer: $1,000

4. BetRivers Sportsbook

BetRivers has snagged a decent amount of market share in Iowa. While its online sportsbook could be better and more efficiently organized, it still offers a variety of good features. BetRivers offers a large menu of sports, a good layout for props and alternate lines, and one of the industry’s best rewards programs.

  • App rating: 3.5 (iOS), 2.7 (Android)
  • Key takeaway: Features and sports that you won’t find elsewhere.  
  • Best feature: iRush Rewards
  • Bonus offer: $500

5. Betfred Sports

BetFred Sports is a relatively-new sportsbook to the US, but it has decades of experience in Europe under its belt. It offers some of the most competitive odds that you’re likely to find, along with a sleek and aesthetically-pleasing display. The only ding on Betfred is its banking options, which are still a bit anemic compared to the options US bettors typically have elsewhere.

  • App rating: 3.7 (Apple), 4.0 (Android)
  • Key takeaway: Experienced European sportsbook has plenty to offer Iowa bettors.
  • Best feature: Sleek presentation
  • Bonus offer: $250

6. Unibet Sportsbook

Unibet is another online sportsbook with a large overseas presence that is in the midst of expanding in the US. The app is pretty bare-bones when it comes to its appearance, but it works just fine and is easy to use. Unibet consistently receives high marks for its live betting and streaming capabilities.

  • App rating: 2.9 (iOS), 3.3 (Android)
  • Key takeaway: Simple and no-frills approach with great live betting.  
  • Best feature: Live streaming
  • Bonus offer: $100

7. FanDuel Sportsbook

FanDuel offers one of the better web and mobile experiences you’ll find for any sportsbook. It lays everything out in clear fashion, and the site makes improvements where necessary. For instance, it overhauled its prop bets to be more user-friendly and intuitive. There are lots of great features, but FanDuel could improve by adding more regular promos.

  • App rating: 4.8 (iOS), 4.7 (Android)
  • Key takeaway: Simple to use with a number of great features.  
  • Best feature: Same game parlays
  • Bonus offer: $1,000

8. PointsBet Sportsbook

PointsBet has introduced a new way of wagering to the US. PointsBetting offers increased potential rewards as well as increased risks. The PointsBet app is also great for regular betting, with competitive odds. Overall, the online sportsbook is solid, but navigation could be better in a few spots.

  • App rating: 4.7 (iOS), 4.5 (Android)
  • Key takeaway: Competitive odds and lines are a priority.  
  • Best feature: PointsBetting
  • Bonus offer: $2,000

New Iowa sports betting apps

DRF Sports became the 18th sports betting app in Iowa upon its launch in January 2022. That came on the tail of a busy fourth quarter of 2021 that saw Betway, Barstool, and Circa make their official debuts in the Hawkeye State.

Each of the 19 casinos in the state can have up to three online partners. The industry’s biggest names all have a presence in the state, but some smaller books could fill the remaining slots. Tipico Sportsbook could be one of those to launch in Iowa in 2022.

How to get started with best Iowa sportsbook bonuses

Most of the sportsbooks in Iowa provide competitive signup bonuses and ongoing promotions. Before signing up, look for the incentives that are best for you. Here are the current top five welcome bonuses:

Before claiming any bonuses, understand how they work and what you need to do. Here are some of the typical offers that you’ll come across:

  • Deposit bonus: The sportsbook will match your first deposit up to a certain amount as a percentage of the total. You won’t be able to withdraw the matching funds until you meet a playthrough requirement.
  • Risk-free bets: After you sign up to play and make your first deposit, your first bet will be risk-free. If the bet loses, you get a refund in the form of free bets or site credits that you can use to place more bets.
  • Odds boosts: An odds boost means that the book is taking the initial line and increasing the odds to make the potential return more appealing. Boosts may be available for game outcomes, parlays, or player props.   

The registration process is simple, as you follow the prompts and enter the necessary information. The sportsbook will verify your details. If it has any trouble doing so, you’ll need to provide additional documentation. Barring that, you can be up and running at a legal Iowa sportsbook in minutes.

10 quick facts about Iowa sports betting

  1. Iowa legalized sports betting in 2019.
  2. The online and retail launch happened simultaneously in August 2019.
  3. Initially, there was an in-person registration requirement for online betting, but that expired at the start of 2021.
  4. Iowa recorded more than $2 billion in total bets in 2021.
  5. Iowa is one of the few legal sports betting states without a home pro sports team.
  6. Betting is legal on both pro and college sports.
  7. Iowa does not allow wagering on high school sports or entertainment-related events.
  8. To legally bet on sports in Iowa, you must be 21 or older.
  9. You don’t have to be a resident, but you will need to be within state lines when placing bets.
  10. It’s illegal for those with a close affiliation with leagues or teams to wager on their own sports.

What to expect at a legal Iowa sports betting site

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission is the regulatory body for sports betting in the state, covering licensing and regulation for the sportsbooks while also aiming to ensure safety for sports bettors. This means every app authorized for play in Iowa undergoes testing and review for fairness and security before launching in the state.

Bettors across the state can now wager in a legal and safe fashion at their leisure. And, with the in-person registration requirement expired as of 2021, the convenience of signing up at one of the sites and placing a bet from anywhere within the state is a main reason the market continues to grow.

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Iowa sports betting law and regulations

Efforts to legalize sports betting in Iowa began in earnest in 2018, but the year would come and go without resolution. That all changed quickly the following year, however, with Gov. Kim Reynolds signing sports betting into law in May 2019.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission helped to push things through for a successful online and retail launch in August. You originally needed to complete your registration in person to wager online, but that rule expired on Jan. 1, 2021.

The law permitted online sportsbooks to open for business, provided that they partnered with one of the state’s land-based casinos. The law also set one of the lower tax rates and licensing fees for betting. Here are some of the other main points of Iowa sports betting law:

  • The license fee is $45,000.
  • The state taxes sports betting revenue at a rate of 6.75%.
  • You can now register at an Iowa sportsbook entirely online.
  • Each casino is allowed three online skins for a max total of 57 sites.

Full list of Iowa sports betting apps

Since opening in 2019, the Iowa sports betting market has quickly become crowded. Here are the 17 online sportsbooks available in the state as of 2022:

  1. Bally Bet Sportsbook
  2. Barstool Sportsbook
  3. Betfred Sportsbook
  4. BetMGM Sportsbook
  5. BetRivers Sportsbook
  6. Betway Sportsbook
  7. Caesars Sportsbook
  8. Circa Sportsbook
  9. DraftKings Sportsbook
  10. DRF Sportsbook
  11. Elite Sportsbook
  12. FanDuel Sportsbook
  13. Fubo Sportsbook
  14. Hard Rock Sportsbook
  15. PointsBet Sportsbook
  16. Q Sportsbook
  17. Unibet Sportsbook

While no major pro sports teams make their home in Iowa, the state is surrounded by nearby Midwestern teams. Loyalties are pretty scattered as a result, but the good news is there are plenty of options for rooting interest in each of the major sports:

  • NFL: Chicago Bears, Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings
  • NBA: Chicago Bulls, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves
  • MLB: Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, St. Louis Cardinals
  • NHL: Chicago Blackhawks, Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues

College football and basketball are also very popular, with Iowa and Iowa State having the biggest followings. You can bet on those programs and potentially a couple of other smaller schools in the state without issue. Iowa doesn’t allow player prop bets on college athletes, however.

Other top attractions at legal sportsbooks include soccer, tennis and UFC. There are also markets for various international sports, as well as those with a niche following such as darts and table tennis.

When it’s time for the Super Bowl, you’ll find props on a few ancillary events like the coin toss, but sports betting is technically restricted to actual sporting events. As such, you won’t be able to bet on things like the Academy Awards or election results.

Iowa sports betting history

The wheels were in motion in 2018 to legalize sports betting in Iowa pending a change at the federal level. Despite that happening, the year ended without the state taking action.

The debate carried over into 2019. Gov. Kim Reynolds signed off on legal sports betting in May. The goal was for sportsbooks to be live in advance of the NFL and college football seasons.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission helped to expedite the process, and retail and online betting launched in August. Here are some of the key yearly events from pre- to post-legalization.

  • 2018: Efforts to legalize sports betting gain further traction after a US Supreme Court ruling in May 2018, but the year closes without substantive progress.
  • 2019: Iowa’s governor signs sports betting into law in May 2019. From there it’s a quick turnaround to the launch of retail and online betting in August, just in time for the start of the NFL, NBA, and NHL seasons as well as the MLB postseason.
  • 2020: Monthly sports betting handle eclipses the nine-figure mark for the first time in December, with a combined $104 million in wagers in Iowa. The year ends with more than $500 million in total bets.
  • 2021: The in-person registration requirement expires at the start of the year, changing the game in the state. As such, Iowa sets a new all-time handle record of $287 million in November for a total of $2 billion bets for the year.
  • 2022: An attempt to legalize esports betting in Iowa passed the House in March (HF 2497). Later in July, TheScore Bet stopped servicing users in Iowa, announcing it had stopped all US sports betting operations. Expanded sports betting, including betting on drafts and league awards, went into affect on July 1.

Iowa sports betting FAQ

Is online sports betting legal in Iowa?

Yes, Iowa legalized online sports betting in 2019. The online and in-person launches took place in August 2019. Caesars Sportsbook was the first app to launch in the state.

Where can I bet on sports in IA?

There are 17 legal and regulated online sportsbooks to choose from in Iowa as of early 2022. Retail sportsbooks are available at many of the state’s casinos, too:

  • 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

Is Bovada legal in Iowa?iowa racing and gaming commission logo

No, Bovada does not have a license from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. Offshore sportsbooks such as Bovada may advertise themselves as legal, but the reality is different. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission website has a complete list of licensed providers. If a site doesn’t have the IRGC stamp of approval, it’s not worth taking the risk to bet there.

What’s the legal sports betting age in IA?

The legal sports betting age in Iowa is 21. As part of the online registration process, sportsbooks will verify your identity and age. If they can’t do so, you’ll need to provide supporting documentation.

Can you bet on horse racing in Iowa?

Yes, it’s legal to bet on horse racing in Iowa. Live racing action is available at Prairie Meadows in Altoona on select dates. The venue also offers simulcasting, as do off-track betting sites at Q Casino and Wild Rose Clinton. Online horse betting at sites like TVG is also legal.

Are daily fantasy sports contests legal in IA?

Iowa officially legalized daily fantasy sports contests in 2019 along with the broader sports betting law. DraftKings and FanDuel both operate their DFS sites in the state, and Iowa residents can sign up to play with either.

Can you bet on college sports in Iowa?

It’s legal to bet on both college and pro sports in Iowa. You can also bet on in-state teams such as Iowa and Iowa State. However, the state does not allow prop bets on individual college athletes.

More Iowa sports betting resources

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