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  • Land Based Gambling

    Live Dealer Games
    Casino
    Regulated Since: 1998
    Gambling Age: 21
    Live Dealer Games
    Sports Betting
    Regulated Since: 2019
    Gambling Age: 21
    Live Dealer Games
    Poker
    Live Dealer Games
    Bingo
    Regulated Since: 2000
    Gambling Age: 21
    Live Dealer Games
    Lottery
    Regulated Since: 1985
    Gambling Age: 21
    Live Dealer Games
    Horse Racing
    Regulated Since: 1982
    Gambling Age: 21
    Live Dealer Games
    Dog Racing
    Regulated Since: 1983
    Gambling Age: 21

    Online Gambling

    Live Dealer Games
    Online Casino
    Live Dealer Games
    Online Sports Betting
    Regulated Since: 2019
    Gambling Age: 21
    Live Dealer Games
    Online Poker
    Live Dealer Games
    Online Bingo
    Live Dealer Games
    eSports Betting
    Regulated Since: 2019
    Gambling Age: 21
    Live Dealer Games
    DFS
    Regulated Since: 2019
    Gambling Age: 21

    Overview

    Iowa, dubbed the Hawkeye State, is home to some of the best casinos in the US. This Midwestern state was the 29th state to become part of the United States of America back in 1846.

    The Iowa laws regarding land-based gambling are among the best in the US. Today there are over 20 casinos you can visit within the state. Casinos have a minimum age requirement of 21 and offer a range of slots and table games.

    Things haven’t always been smooth sailing for gambling activities within this state. Through trial and error, the state has managed to create a system that works. All forms of gambling were banned within the state for a long period before slowly but surely it was written back into law.

    Nowadays you can enjoy a variety of land-based casino activities, pari-mutuel betting, charitable games, sports betting and more within the state. Online gambling is still one of the no-go gaming activities in the state. The law is incredibly strict regarding this banning most forms of online gambling.

    In recent years the state has eased up legalizing daily fantasy sports and sports betting. These can be enjoyed online if the right steps are followed. This includes registering an app in-person before taking part in any online gambling activities.

    Iowa’s gambling industry is quite lucrative bringing in an estimated $375,000,000 in tax revenue per year. Furthermore, the state gains an estimate of $1,800,000,000 in revenue from current legal activities. With the addition of sports betting and Daily Fantasy Sports, these numbers will only grow.

    Gambling hasn’t always had its place within the state. There is a long history here and periods of no gambling taking place. Fortunately, authorities saw the light and made an effort to bring gambling forms to the state. Today Iowa thrives with a large number of land-based casinos properly licensed and regulated.

    There is hope that the same approach could be taken with online gambling and online casinos can soon enter the virtual doors of Iowa. With the current focus on developing the sports betting sector, it could be quite some time before this happens. 


    Regulation

    When it comes to the state of Iowa history has proven there is a craving for legal gambling activities. Through the years authorities have gone through the motions of restructuring and rewriting the laws to bring back gambling. One thing that has become clear over the years is that the state has different views on land-based and online gambling.

    In 1846 when Iowa became part of the US all gambling was prohibited. A state constitutional amendment was even put in place to ban lottery games. In 1857 a new constitution was constructed but this included the same anti-gambling phrasing which banned lottery games in the state.

    Then in 1972 Iowa repealed the constitutional provision proclaiming no lottery shall be authorized by the state. A year later the state’s General Assembly authorized specified individuals and organizations to conduct bingo games and raffles for charitable purposes and raising funds.

    By 1983 Iowa passed a law permitting pari-mutuel betting on horse and greyhound racing. With the signing of the bill then Gov. Terry Branstad appointed the first-ever Racing Gaming Commission in the state. In 1985 a state lottery was legalized allowing for lottery betting to take place in Iowa. The state lottery opened the doors to local lotteries, inter-state lotteries such as Powerball and Mega Millions as well as charitable gambling.

    Finally in 1989 Iowa passed legislation that allowed for casinos to run on the waters. Riverboat gambling was at this point the only legal form of casino gambling allowed in the state. By 1991 things had escalated and three Native American Indian tribal gaming compacts were negotiated. Allowing the establishment of tribal gaming facilities on tribal lands. This was all made possible thanks to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.

    In 2005 the Iowa Racing Commission had started granting gambling licenses to several land-based casinos. In 2018 there was a court case where the US Supreme Court ruled the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) banning sports betting as unconstitutional. In turn, this lifted the federal ban allowing all states to determine the fate of sports betting in their borders.

    Iowa legalized sports betting in 2019 with the SF 617 bill signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds. This bill was written into law to regulate sports wagering within the state. With this law active all licensed casino operators can offer wagering on professional and college sports. In the same year Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) was legalized with DraftKings currently being the first and only approved entity allowed to offer real money DFS games. It is expected that FanDuel will soon be allowed to offer DFS in Iowa too. 

    Licensing

    As one of the more progressive states regarding gambling activities Iowa also has the best regulatory bodies in place. These have been created to ensure all forms of gambling activities in the state are licensed and regulated properly.

    The Iowa Racing Commission first established to regulate the horse and greyhound industry was later on renamed to the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission. This commission is in charge of licensing and regulating Casino Gaming, Poker, Sports and Horse race betting and Daily Fantasy Sports betting.

    The Iowa Lottery is run by the state and lottery vendors are selected by the Iowa Lottery. All other forms of gambling such a Bingo, Social Gaming and Skill Games and Competitions are run by the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals.

    In Iowa, there is no statutory limit on the number of casinos that can be present but the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission (IGRC) has adopted a policy against accepting new applications for new locations. The policy has been in place for many years but exceptions have been made in 2004-2005, 2012-2013 and again in 2017. By law, all gaming facilities and operations need to be licensed by the IGRC. All licensed entities are subjected to regular checkups to see if they adhere to federal, state and local laws and regulations. Furthermore, licenses are only valid for a year and have to be renewed annually.

    When it comes to the tribal gaming facilities the regulations differ. There are three tribal gaming facilities and these are regulated by the tribes.

    Sports betting is legal only through a licensed casino paying additional license fees to allow sports betting on mobile and at the land-based establishments. Mobile betting is minimal and only allowed through mobile accounts with intrastate bets alone. On top of that mobile betting can be offered via a licensed sportsbook app as long as players are given a password-protected access to the web portal.

    Any casino mobile app for sports betting is required to have a problem gambling hotline with the information prominently displayed. All apps also need to come with a range of responsible gaming features which includes a self-exclusion option. 

    FAQ

    Is online gambling legal in Iowa?

    Online gambling is currently illegal in the state with lawmakers solely focusing on developing and expanding sports betting.

    Are sports betting legal in Iowa?

    Sports betting was officially legalized in the state in August 2019.

    What games are legal in Iowa?

    All table games, Slots, Video Poker, Live Poker, Daily Fantasy Sports and Sports betting.

    Is there a loss limit in Iowa casinos?

    There used to be a minimum bet and loss limit in Iowa casinos. After the repeal in 1994 the limit was revoked and today there are no loss limits at Iowa casinos.

    Is online sports betting available in the state?

    Yes, if you register with an app in person. This requirement is said to go away in 2021.

    Are Daily Fantasy Sports betting legal in Iowa?

    Yes, Daily Fantasy Sports was legalized in October 2019 and can be accessed via DraftKings.

    Is horse racing legal in Iowa?

    Yes, although there is only one horse track within the state (Prairie Meadows).

    Is greyhound racing legal in Iowa?

    Yes, but as with horse racing, there is only one racetrack in the state.

    Is off-track betting legal in the state?

    Yes, it can be found around Prairie Meadows and Dubuque Greyhound Park.

    Minimum age requirement for gambling in Iowa?

    You need to be 21 or older to partake in any type of gambling activities within the state.

    Casinos and Gambling Facilities in Iowa

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