Iowa is the home of 20 land-based casinos and 3 race track casinos. Historically, it’s been a state who’s been pretty liberal towards gambling legislation, leaving most of the decision making up to the people. Most recently, in May of 2019, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission formulated a sports betting bill that was a success. This welcomed sportsbooks, daily fantasy sports, and online off-track betting into the state.
Iowa is home to a plus-sized casino industry serving slots, live poker, social poker, sports betting, race track betting, and more.
Update – Make your first bet at DraftKings Iowa.
Iowa Legal Gambling History
In 1983, the state of Iowa made it legal for players to place pari-mutuel bets at the state’s race tracks. In a 1989 provision made to the same bill, track betters became eligible to wager on horse races taking place at out of state tracks via simulcast. This provision also got the ball rolling on opening up the door for riverboat casino gambling, which we saw become a reality in 1991.
Meanwhile, in between the passing of the bill and its provision, the Iowa state lottery was established in 1985.
The decisions for the residents of Iowa to be able to pick and chose their legal gambling options have been progressive over the years, to say the least. In 1991, Iowa officials decided to leave it up to the voters to choose whether or not they wanted to see land-based casinos come to their respective counties. This was certainly a bold move and one reflective of the state’s democratic attitude towards allowing gaming in.
In May of 2019, Governor Kim Reynolds signed SF 617 into effect to legalize sports betting and mobile sportsbooks in Iowa after a long-drawn-out battle. This bill legalizes daily fantasy sports and mobile track betting also, breaking the ice on Iowa’s untouched online gambling offerings.
Iowa Gambling Legal Status
Social poker games are legal in Iowa. There is a winnings cap set at $50 for home poker games, though not strictly enforced and not a problem unless the host is found to be profiting from the games.
Race track betting in Iowa is strong. The state is home to 3 race tracks that regularly draw good-sized crowds and their wagers too. Iowa’s 3 race tracks are also racinos and allow for pari-mutuel betting as well as simulcast betting on races taking place at out of state tracks.
Land-based casinos are legal in Iowa where there are 20 casinos and 3 race tracks that offer slots, blackjack, roulette, craps, poker, video poker, ultimate Texas hold ‘em, and more.
In 2019, Governor Kim Reynolds signed legislation that allows sports betting (both online and physical), daily fantasy sports, and online race track betting in. Players must be 21 and up to play the books.
Charitable gaming, such as bingo, and the state lottery are legal in Iowa. Sadly, online gambling isn’t. In Iowa, the legal age to gamble is 21 for all forms across the board.
Iowa Legal Daily Fantasy Sports and Sports Betting
As of August 2019 sportsbooks have officially gone live in Iowa. This is thanks to legislation signed into effect by Governor Kim Reynolds back in May. It goes to show that hard work and effort can pay off, as the legislation came about after many failed attempts in the historically anti-online gambling state of Iowa.
Due to the excitement surrounding it, in an otherwise extremely pro-gambling state, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission wasted no time in improving measures that allowed for the first sportsbook to launch just a couple of months later. The new law states that each physical casino can offer up to two sportsbooks and have the opportunity to apply for online licenses.
Iowa’s mobile sportsbooks coming into the market should include:
The bill to approve sports betting was a combined effort that now makes daily fantasy sports and online off-track race betting now legal too.
A provision in the bill requires players to register in person at the physical casino where the sportsbook is offered. A minor inconvenience. Although, the provision expires in 2021 at which time betters can register online from anywhere in the world (you must be located within the state of Iowa to place a bet).
Players placing wagers on sports must be 21 years of age or older.
Iowa Legal Gambling FAQ’s
What forms of gambling are legal in the state of Iowa?
- Land-based casino and race track casino betting
- Sports betting and mobile sportsbook betting
- Social poker
- Mobile track betting
- Daily fantasy sports
- State lottery
- Charitable gaming such as bingo
The legal age to gamble in any form in the state of Iowa is 21 and up.
States are watching Iowa to see how they take on this explosive growth. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.