Iowa

Iowa gambling law is one of the most relaxed in the Midwest. The Hawkeye State’s easy access to the Mississippi River and a strong riverboat casino industry is responsible for the state’s relaxed attitude towards gambling law. Gambling is a cultural legacy for most Iowans, as is their understanding of the democratic process, and the state’s residents regularly vote in referendums in favor of gambling reform.

Sports betting – both online and land-based – arrived in Iowa in August 2019 just in time for the start of the 2019-20 NFL season and is proving to be a big hit with the state’s residents and visitors. The Governor signed off on the sports wagering law without needing to check with voters via referendum.

Iowa is home to 21 casinos – both commercial operations and tribal casinos and gaming is big business in Iowa, generating more than $18 billion annually in revenue, and providing more than 18,000 jobs. While there seems to be little political will in moving towards online casino legalization, at least you’re never too far from travelling to a traditional casino in the state.

Legality of Sports Betting VS Gambling

Iowa’s legal gambling options include online and land-based sports betting, Racinos, Tribal & Riverboat Casinos, online horse racing betting and State lottery options, and live poker completes a superb range of gambling choices for residents and visitors to the Hawkeye State.

Gambling Type
Legal Land-Based
Legal Online
Sports Betting
Yes
Yes
Casinos
Yes
No
Fantasy Sports (DFS)
Yes
Yes
eSports
No
No
Poker
Yes
No
Horse Racing
Yes
Yes
Lottery
Yes
No
Charitable Gambling
Yes
No

Iowa Sports Betting Tax Rates

Iowa has a 5% state tax on gambling winnings.

Large gambling wins in Iowa over $600 may possibly attract an additional Federal Tax.

We recommend contacting your tax attorney for complete details of your tax liability if you have a big win.

Sports Betting Age VS Gambling Age in Iowa

Keeping things very simple as tends to be the way with gambling in Iowa, the Hawkeye State applies a minimum gambling age of 21 for all forms of legalized wagering

Gambling Type
Age
Sports Betting
 21
DFS
21
Casinos
21
Horse Racing
21
Lottery
21
Charitable Gambling
21

Betting on Sports in Iowa

There are a wide range of land-based sportsbook opportunities for residents and visitors to the state of Iowa, online sports wagering is now up-and-running or to be launched shortly at;

  • William Hill Online Sportsbook
  • Elite Online Sportsbook
  • PointsBet Online Sportsbook
  • DraftKings Online Sportsbook
  • Hard Rock Online Sportsbook
  • Q Online Sportsbook
  • Unibet Online Sportsbook – Coming Soon
  • Betfred Online Sportsbook – Coming Soon
  • BetRivers Online Sportsbook – Coming Soon
  • FanDuel Online Sportsbook – Coming Soon – to launch any day
  • Barstool Online Sportsbook – Coming before the end of 2021.

Additional online sportsbook operators are expected to be added to the Iowa selection over time, as only 13 of the states 21 land-based casinos have so far indicated that they will take up an online casino license.

Iowa Online Sports Betting Laws

Following the successful passage of SF 617 through the Iowa State Houses, and the law was signed off on by the State Governor in 2019, people within Iowa borders can now place wagers on all pro sports, college games, and international sporting events.

Sports betting laws in Iowa include;

  • That you are over 21-years of age
  • That you are inside state lines when placing your wagers (regardless of you are an Iowa resident or visitor)
  • That you are not on a self-exclusion list.

There are some restrictions for betting:

  • Wagers can only be taken out on sports, not on things like elections and the Oscars etc.
  • No wagering on eSports.
  • Personnel involved in sports leagues (officials, coaches, officials, players etc.) cannot bet on their own sports.
  • No in-game prop bets are allowed on in-state college teams.
  • No wagering with illegal and unregulated offshore websites that offer sports betting in Iowa.

Other Key Iowa Sports Wagering Regulations

  • Retail sportsbooks and mobile betting authorized
  • Customers must visit a bricks-and-mortar casino to register in-person for online sports betting; this proviso ends after January 1st 2021.
  • Each casino may operate up to two independently-branded online betting sites.
  • Casinos must pay a $45000 sports betting licensing fee and $10000 per year thereafter, and;
  • Sports betting operators subject to payment of a 6.75% tax.

Online Fantasy Sports in Iowa

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) operators fought a long battle in Iowa to become legally established. The first DFS legalization bill in Iowa (proposed in 2013) sought to allow Iowa to join the long list of states that allow online fantasy betting; however, it did not pass.

An additional two legalization bills were introduced in Iowa to legalize DFS in 2015 eventually failed in 2016. Senate Study Bill 3181, followed up in 2016, however, that one also failed to pass into legislation.

In 2017, seemingly determined to get DFS legalized, lawmakers in Iowa tried again to legalize and regulate DFS with a bill seeking to legalize DFS, institute a 7.5% tax on DFS revenues and prohibit those under 21 from playing.  While the bill didn’t make it through the 2017 session, the same bill (House File 613) was reintroduced in 2018 and quickly made it through a House subcommittee.

Eventually, the state relented and the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission (IRGC) is now responsible for overseeing both DFS and sports betting. DFS operators are now required to apply for a license from the IRGC and pay $5000 upon successful licensure. The DFS law has also established a 6.75% tax payable by operators.

Under the new system, DraftKings was the first to successfully apply for a DFS license and launched for Iowa residents in October 2019.

eSports Online Betting Laws

The Iowa sports betting law of 2019 did not specifically refer to eSports, however, in June 2020 an Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) clarified that their definition of an “authorized sporting event” does not include eSports.

An “authorized sporting event” is defined in Iowa as:

“Authorized sporting event” means a professional sporting event, collegiate sporting event, international sporting event, or professional motor race event.
“Authorized sporting event” does not include a race as defined in section 99D.2, a fantasy sports contest as defined in section 99E.1, minor league sporting event, or any athletic event or competition of an interscholastic sport as defined in section 9A.102.”

Given the liberal nature of administering Iowa sports betting laws, eSports betting enthusiasts are confident that the Iowa legislature will find a pathway to introduce an amendment clearing the way for legal eSports betting in Iowa.

The ‘eSports’ phenomenon Explained

If you’re not aware, video game play at the very highest level has in a few short years, become a full-fledged professional sport.; ‘eSports’. eSports are most often played in a team-format in tournaments worldwide, rather than being an individual sport.

Electronic games are like different sports types, much in the same way that football, baseball, basketball and hockey are different types of sports. CS:GO and Overwatch, for example, are the NFL and NBA of the eSports world.

As eSports wagering grows exponentially worldwide, an increasing number of international sportsbooks offering a betting markets across the major eSports tournaments.

Keep your eyes peeled for eSports betting to be available soon at your favorite Iowa sportsbook.

Horse Racing in Iowa

Iowa’s residents and visitors have many legal horse racing betting options for on-course and off-track betting locations and online horse racing betting sites. Horse and greyhound racing betting in the state is administered by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

Tracksides

Iowa is home to a single state-administered greyhound racing track and there are an additional 3 Horse Racing tracks in the State of Iowa. It’s worthwhile to note that all tracks in Iowa also offer casino slot machines, video poker and live poker games.

Off Track Betting (OTB) in Iowa

The State of Iowa has an extensive network of more than 20 OTB locations throughout the Hawkeye State.

Online Horse Racing in Iowa

Iowa’s online racebooks for the most part have relatively small initial deposit requirements and all of them provide the convenience of betting anywhere/anytime on a mobile device or PC. Iowa residents over the age of 21 all have full legal access to online horse betting sites that offer betting on races throughout the U.S and across-the world.

If you can’t manage to travel to an OTB outlet to bet on big events like the Triple Crown or the Kentucky Derby, you can still place wagers on the big races with an online account and all 100% legally.

visit our Page on Iowa’s Online Casino Gambling Laws for information and reviews on the states most popular online casinos

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