ESTNN Staff
ESTNN Staff

Iowa Sports Betting – Best Betting Sites & Apps in Iowa

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Ever since August 2019, sports betting in Iowa has been fully legalized. The news broke just a few months after two high-profile governors put forward a bill to legalize sports betting in the state. As you can see, it didn’t take long for approval, and now that we are two years down the line, things are going well. At the time of writing, there are more than one dozen fully approved sports betting apps operating in Iowa. Of course, that creates a nice selection for those looking to get a piece of the action.

Some of the biggest names operating in the state right now include BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, and Unibet. However, there are several other Iowa sports betting sites to check out on your own time. And when you look at the numbers that these sportsbooks are boasting, cumulatively, things are pretty impressive. Take November 2021 as an example – over $280 million was wagered across the board by Iowa punters.

This is clearly significant, and it bodes well for the growth of sports betting in Iowa moving forward.

Best sports betting sites in Iowa for

  • BetMGM
  • DraftKings
  • PointsBet
  • Hard Rock Sportsbook
  • FanDuel
  • Ceasars

Latest updates on Iowa sports betting

Iowa sports betting

As we have stressed above, Iowa online sports betting has been fully approved since August 2019. This is obviously the most significant update to note, although, within the last 12 months, we have seen an even bigger update take place. Prior to the beginning of 2021, Iowa residents would need to venture out to a physical casino to register for online sports betting Iowa account. Of course, this made it quite a hassle to go ahead and create an account, and for more than one year, this majorly hindered the growth of sports betting in Iowa.

However, this was only the initial provision of legalizing sports betting in Iowa. And this provision was only valid for 18 months. For this reason, at the beginning of 2021, Iowa-based punters didn’t have to visit a physical casino to register anymore. That’s where the surge in online sports betting popularity became really apparent. With people being able to sign up and bet from their phones/laptops, Iowa sports betting sites became so much more accessible. And without question, the millions of dollars bet each month on sports would have never come to fruition without the changing of this initial provision.

Is sports betting legal in Iowa for online wagering?

To answer the common question of ‘is sports betting legal in Iowa’, we can answer with a definitive yes. This has been the case since August 2019, meaning that punters have enjoyed legal sports betting for over two years now. How did this come to be? Well, a bill was put forward back in May 2019, listed as ‘Senate File 617’. This bill itself was put forward by senior government officials and as we now know, the bill was approved by the Supreme Court. However, like all bills, there was a bit of a wait between the bill being passed and the bill receiving full approval in terms of the law.

That’s why sports betting in Iowa didn’t receive the go-ahead until later that year, in August 2019. As you can hopefully see, and for clarity, it is the Supreme Court that had to give the approval for legal sports betting in Iowa. No other government department or individual regulatory body had the control to make such a change. And let us tell you – the news was welcomed by many brands looking to enter the Iowa sports betting market.

That’s why there are now more than a dozen Iowa sports betting sites currently in operation! Of course, this is fantastic for choice, and some of the biggest names include DraftKings and FanDuel.

Where to bet on sports in Iowa?

As you’d expect, since online sports betting is legal in Iowa, it’s relatively simple concerning how to get yourself set up. And at the time of writing, you have two main options, as detailed below:

Online

Registering with an approved online betting site in Iowa is the quickest and easiest way to get the ball rolling. Once you actually find a platform that looks suitable, you can then run through the registration process on your preferred device – including mobiles. You must be over the age of 21 and based in Iowa to do this, but once verified, you can bet on a bunch of sports without having to venture out to a physical casino. This brings us to the second option.

Physical casinos

Believe it or not, most physical casinos in Iowa actually have a sportsbook as part of their offerings. There are around 10 physical casinos currently operating in Iowa, so again, you have a fair amount of choice here. And if you do choose to visit a physical casino to make any sports bets, you can often watch the events you are betting on. The atmosphere and vibe surrounding sports betting are obviously quite cool at these physical locations, but then again, you do need to travel there!

Online sportsbooks currently available in Iowa

Perform a quick search for ‘sports betting Iowa’ and you will see plenty of options. In fact, over a dozen Iowa sports betting sites currently operate, and we have discussed every single one of them below:

BetMGM Sportsbook

BetMGM is obviously a huge betting brand. These guys are tied in with the MGMGrand out in Vegas, so you can be confident that BetMGM knows what they are doing. And at the time of writing, BetMGM is handing out a $1,000 risk-free bet for all new customers. BetMGM also has a mobile app you may download thanks to its partnership with Diamond Jo Casino Dubuque.

DraftKings Sportsbook

Speaking of huge betting brands, DraftKings is arguably the largest in the country. Of course, DraftKings is famous for fantasy football, but this brand has also been expanding into the online sports betting world like no other. DraftKings is absolutely fantastic for betting on sports such as American football, ice hockey, and basketball. And as for the sign-up bonus, you can grab a $1,000 boost through a deposit match combined with a $50 free bet.

PointsBet Sportsbook

PointsBet is a very unique online sportsbook compared to the others. The reason for this is that PointsBet has a well-equipped section for spread betting. This is a complex form of betting where punters stand to make/lose more money depending on their selections, as bets are focused on a particular outcome for an individual event. You can even get two risk-free bets of up to $2,000 by joining PointsBet today.

Hard Rock Sportsbook

Hard Rock Sportsbook is another tremendous site operating within Iowa. As it happens, Hard Rock was also one of the few brands to launch an online betting option when sports betting was legalized in the latter stages of 2019. You can bet on more than 20 different sports on the Hard Rock site right now, and there is a $250 bet match for new customers.

Q Sportsbook

Through the main Q Casino, Q Sportsbook is obviously a branch of the physical location. And these guys were one of the very first to act on legislative changes in Iowa. The physical sportsbook went live in August 2019, and the online site became available in November 2019. The only downside to this site is that no welcome bonus currently exists.

Bally Bet Sportsbook

Bally Bet is actually one of the newer additions to the Iowa sports betting market. These guys launched in July 2021, more than 18 months after the first sites went live. Bally Bet has an awesome selection of markets for major leagues such as the NBA, NFL, and MLS too. And if you dive in today, you can grab a $100 free bet just for registering as well as a $550 free bet once you have processed your first deposit.

Elite Sportsbook

Elite Sportsbook has not one, but three partnerships with physical casinos in Iowa. That shows a fair bit of trust between this brand and established brick-and-mortar locations. Elite Sportsbook has a mobile app available to download for both iOS and Android too, providing a fantastic on-the-move betting experience. There is even a $500 risk-free bet for brand new customers, which is pretty solid!

FanDuel Sportsbook

FanDuel has had a presence in Iowa since September 2020. Alongside DraftKings, FanDuel is pretty much the biggest sports betting brand in America. FanDuel is a site that lets you wager on NCAA events, as well as all of the main professional leagues in the US. The site even hands out a bunch of enhanced odds markets on a daily basis. And as for promotions, there is a $1000 risk-free bet on the table for new signups.

Caesars Sportsbook

Caesars is a brand that has become synonymous with quality betting options over the years. Of course, the main casino out in Vegas is what put Caesars on the map, but these guys have stayed with the times and moved online. To operate in Iowa, however, Caesars has actually teamed up with William Hill, which is why you can enjoy a fantastic mobile app and diverse betting offerings here. You can also get a $1,001 (specific we know) free bet after signing up.

BetRivers Sportsbook

Instead of giving players a free bet incentive for signing up, BetRivers simply offers a deposit bonus where you can grab a $250 boost. This is a nice way to get started, and we must say, BetRivers is an awesome site for mobile betting. You can bet a huge number of events via a terrific mobile app, which is probably why BetRivers is viewed as one of the leading Iowa sports betting sites.

Betfred Sportsbook

Betfred is also quite a new addition to the online sports betting market in Iowa. These guys went live in September 2020, but they’ve wasted no time in developing a great reputation. With incredibly competitive odds for almost all US sports, Betfred delivers on value! This is also the case thanks to the range of bonuses, starting with the 100% first bet match of up to $500 for new customers.

Unibet Sportsbook

Unibet is still a baby when it comes to sports betting in Iowa. This brand went live in September 2021, but it launched with a huge number of sports to bet on as well as a native app for players to download. Unibet is also partnered with Harrah’s – one of Iowa’s best physical casinos, so things are looking promising. Unibet also has a $500 risk-free bet for brand new players.

TheScore Sportsbook

TheScore is actually a Canadian-based brand – the only one of its kind on this list. From what we’ve seen, TheScore offers a tremendous range of sports and markets, and they are very generous with bonuses. This all starts with the four-figure welcome bonus of up to $1,000, and TheScore also has a top-notch mobile app you may download too.

What about the legal online sports betting apps?

It is a legal requirement in Iowa that for an online sports betting site to have a mobile app, it must partner with a physical casino. Then again, with mobile betting being fully legal, almost all of the currently operational brands support mobile betting. For clarity, we will show you the affiliations that have made this possible:

Diamond Jo Casinos

Diamond Jo Casinos are affiliated with two major sports betting brands in Iowa. These two brands include FanDuel and BetMGM. FanDuel went live in September 2020 whereas BetMGM didn’t join the party until January 2021.

Wild Rose Casinos

Just like Diamond Jo Casinos above, Wild Rose Casinos are partnered up with two separate brands. These include DraftKings, launched in February 2020, and BetRivers that went live in January 2021.

Grand Falls Casino

Grand Falls Casino also has two partnerships – Bally Bet and Betfred. Both of these brands launched in 2020, way ahead of some of the more recent additions.

Harrah’s Casino

Harrah’s Casino has helped to pave the way for Caesars and Unibet. Caesars actually launched immediately after the legislative change in August 2019. But Unibet didn’t manage to launch through this partnership until September 2021.

Hard Rock Casino

Hard Rock Casino has just one partnership in place. And as no real surprise, this partnership is with the online Hard Rock Sportsbook brand.

Ameristar Casino

Ameristar Casino has also only partnered up with one sportsbook brand – TheScore. This didn’t actually materialize until February 2021.

Q Casino

Q Casino was quick to jump on the legislative changes in Iowa. They went live with their own sportsbook app in November 2019, just a few months after online sports betting was made legal.

Catfish Bend Casino

Catfish Bend Casino took action and helped Australian-based PointsBet to launch its own mobile app in November 2019. This is the one and only partnership that Catfish Bend Casino has in place.

Rhythm City / Riverside Casino

Speaking of casinos that wasted no time, both Riverside and Rhythm City Casino are responsible for the launch of Elite Sportsbook. This occurred in August 2019 – the very same month where sports betting became legal in Iowa.

Isle / Horseshoe Casino

Along with Harrah’s Casino, both Isle and Horseshoe Casino paved the way for Caesars to enter the Iowa sports betting market. And just like the launch of Elite Sportsbook mentioned above, this happened in August 2019.

Online Sports Betting Sites that could soon come to Iowa

At this point, it’s probably pretty clear that sports betting in Iowa is flourishing. But while there are already many popular brands operating within this market, a few major players are missing. On that note, we have reason to believe that the following brands could soon have an Iowa sports betting platform:

Bet365

Bet365 is one of the biggest sports betting operators over in Europe. However, unlike other British betting brands like William Hill and Unibet, bet365 has been slow to come to the US. With that said, bet365 is already live in other states, and we have a feeling that they could soon launch in the Iowa sports betting market.

FoxBet

FoxBet is another prestigious betting site that has not yet launched in Iowa. These guys are connected with the FOX TV network, so financial backing isn’t really an issue. So for that reason, we feel that FoxBet could easily become an Iowa sports betting platform in the near future.

Sugarhouse

Finally, SugarHouse has the potential to launch in Iowa too. This brand actually operates within other states already for both sports betting and casino gaming. This alone shows that SugarHouse is a diverse betting site that can target a range of punters – including Iowa-based players we hope!

Other things you should know about online sports betting sites in Iowa

Iowa sports betting

Opening a new sports betting account in Iowa

The good news is that if you are looking to place sports in Iowa right now, you don’t have to go and visit a physical casino anymore. This hasn’t been necessary since January 2021, which is a huge positive, believe us! These days, you can simply complete a form at Iowa online sports betting sites, and it isn’t super extensive. Generally speaking, you’ll have to provide your date of birth, address, and a few bits of contact information to get set up. And just to clarify, you must be based in Iowa and be over the age of 21 if you are to legally make online sports bets in this state.

All of these details will also need to be verified after you have provided them. So once you’ve set up your new account, you’ll likely need to email the platform with proof of ID and address. Don’t worry – a photo of your driving license and a recent utility bill should do the trick. And yes, in case you were wondering, registering for a new account is possible on both desktop and mobile.

What kind of welcome bonus can you get with an Iowa sports betting operator?

In short, whenever you register for a new account at an online sports betting site in Iowa, you will be able to grab a sign-up bonus. This is the case at all of the best online sites, and some of the sites even have four-figure welcome deals. Of course, this is a great way to get out of the blocks quickly, assuming you proceed to take full advantage of the sign-up offers that is. And on that note, we do have one particular Iowa sports betting platform in mind for the best bonus.

The platform that we recommend above all others is PointsBet. And the reason for this is that PointsBet has the largest welcome bonus in terms of monetary value out of them all. At the time of writing, PointsBet is offering brand new customers a shot at up to $2,000 in risk-free bets right off the bat. This is far higher than any other sign-up bonus currently available in Iowa, so it’s obviously pretty enticing.

But don’t think for a second that this type of offer is your only option. In fact, there are several other bonus variations for you to check out too:

Deposit match

These bonuses are pretty common at Iowa sports betting sites. Basically, when you register and make your initial deposit, you will be given a specific percentage boost. This can be anywhere between 50% and 100%, most commonly.

Free bet

Rather than being offered a ‘risk-free bet’, you can always sign up and redeem a free bet. Risk-free bets come with the promise that your stake will be returned if your bet doesn’t win. However, free bets are simply free tokens handed out to bet on whatever event you like.

First bet match

It’s a pretty exciting time when making your first bet on any sports betting site. But if you want to make it all the more exciting, you can grab a boost concerning the value of your first bet at some sites. Say you bet $50 on an event, some sites will match your bet and therefore let you make your first wager with $100.

Brick-and-Mortar Casinos where you can place sports bets

Since sports betting in Iowa has received complete approval by the powers that be, this means you can make sports bets in physical casinos. Well – within their sportsbooks! And at the time of writing, there are approximately 10 physical casinos that have a sportsbook segment in them within Iowa. If you live close to one, it can be worth it to go there in order to get the vibe and enjoyment from watching live sport and indeed betting on the event.

Of course, this isn’t quite as convenient as it is with online betting, but it’s an option that you might want to keep in your back pocket. Just make sure you have some cash with you, as it’s not always possible to make sports bets through other methods at these locations.

Professional sports venues

In order to engage with sports betting at a professional venue in Iowa, you’ll need to head to the Prairie Racetrack. As you can no doubt guess from the name, this is a professional sports venue that lets you wager on horse racing. If you choose to attend this location on race day, you can bet on a whole bunch of horse races. This is perfectly legal, and just for reference, Prairie Racetrack is located in Altoona. Much like the physical sportsbooks we’ve talked about above, you will need real cash to place your bets here.

And interestingly, Prairie Racetrack even lets you bet on other horse races taking place elsewhere. That’s because the venue has on-site facilities where you can bet and watch live action from other locations!

Betting on the most popular Iowa sports

NFL

With the NFL being one of the most popular sports leagues nationwide, of course, this means it is also true in Iowa. Most of the leading Iowa sports betting platforms cover every single NFL game of the season. So you needn’t be too concerned about limited betting options. Due to the prestige of this league, it’s quite common to find a range of reload bonuses associated with these games too. You might even find enhanced markets and boosted odds at the very best sites, which adds extra value to your online betting experience.

Oh and we almost forgot – be sure to tune in for the Super Bowl, as that’s where the major bonuses become available.

NBA

Following on from the NFL, we had to mention the NBA. This is on a par with all of the other major sports leagues in the USA. This is also one of the most active leagues in North America, with hundreds of games being played each and every season. There are games taking place almost daily, and thanks to the way in which basketball operates, you can explore hundreds of markets for most games.

And just like some of the other leagues mentioned here, it all comes to a head during the post-season NBA Championships!

MLB

Baseball is a sport that is ingrained into American culture. Many sports fans in Iowa will have grown up with the game. And of course, the MLB is a major professional sport that you can wager on as and when you please. Much like basketball, since baseball follows a format of innings and runs, there are always plenty of markets to wager on. And at the very best sites, awesome bonuses and competitive odds really are a given.

You can generally bet on the MLB from the mobile apps we’ve discussed here too, meaning that you are never more than a few taps away from the action.

NHL

Ice hockey is popular all over the world, not just in the USA. However, the NHL is the very pinnacle of the sport, which is why so many Iowa sports fans love watching this league. The NHL season might not be as extensive as some of the others, but each and every game provides great betting opportunities. And of course, the NHL season always comes to a close with the Stanley Cup, which is where the heat is always turned up at the best Iowa sports betting sites.

MMA

MMA doesn’t have a ‘season’ as such. Instead, it’s a sport where big fights are organized behind the scenes, and there’s always a lot of hype surrounding major events. MMA is obviously a hugely popular sport in Iowa too. And since major fights tend to take place in the US, oftentimes in places such as Las Vegas, you can bet on the fight and then watch it through the relative online channels.

Horse Racing

Last but not least, we come to horse racing. Now, we wouldn’t say that horse racing is up there with the other sports/leagues we have mentioned here. However, we would definitely say that horse racing ranks as a popular sport in Iowa. The reason for this is mainly because of the Prairie Racetrack. It’s the only location in the state where you can bet on live sport, and this alone has driven a surge in interest surrounding horse racing in this state.

History of Iowa Sports Betting

Today, and because you’ve read through the information above, it’s clear that Iowa online sports betting is perfectly legal. In fact, this state is one of the most accessible for sports betting in the entire nation. Why? Because it ticks all three boxes – live sports betting, physical sports betting at casinos, and online sports betting. Automatically, this puts Iowa up there with other leading states such as New Jersey for sports betting. But things haven’t always been this way. Let’s quickly discuss how the current environment came to be by looking back through a series of important events:

2018 – initial movement

Back in 2018, the concept of legalizing sports betting was already in full flow in the US. This was pushed forward by New Jersey all the way to the Supreme Court. This was designed to overturn the current PASPA regulations that prevented sports betting nationwide – except Las Vegas, of course. Iowa was hot on the heels of these changes, as Rep. Jake Highfill already put forward a sports betting bill following the outcome of the PASPA hearing.

2019 – full legalization

The changes made following New Jersey’s successful appeal against PASPA were prolific, and not only in Iowa. Many other states jumped onto the online sports betting wagon and facilitated the launch of this industry. But specifically for Iowa, in May 2019, Gov. Kim Reynolds actually took the initiative and signed the SF617 bill. In effect, he instantly approved sports betting ‘as a concept’ in the state, but full legalization occurred in August 2019.

2020 – difficulty in truly taking off

A few Iowa sports betting platforms went live following the legalization of this activity in August 2019. But there was a bit of a hurdle! The current requirement was for Iowa residents to go and sign up at a physical casino before they could make online bets. Of course, for those that weren’t located near a physical casino, this made online sports betting somewhat unfeasible. At the same time, many physical casinos had to close their doors due to obvious global events.

2021 – the year that changed it all

There are two reasons why 2021 changed everything regarding sports betting in Iowa. First and foremost, the initial bill that required people to go and register at physical casinos actually expired. This occurred in January 2021, meaning that those who wanted to place sports wagers could now do so by signing up directly with Iowa sports betting sites. Of course, this meant that anyone with a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or PC could set up an online betting account within a matter of minutes. This was quite different from the need to sign up at a physical location.

Secondly, relaxed restrictions relating to global events meant that physical casinos could open their doors and start operating as usual again. Sure, this was great for those making physical bets, but it had another effect too. In Iowa, partnerships are needed for online brands to offer betting services via online platforms. Since physical casinos were now operating as usual, establishing these partnerships became substantially easier.

And for that reason, Iowa now benefits from a total of 13 different sports betting sites. Not only that – we anticipate further growth in the future. This is especially true since monthly betting figures are now into the hundreds of millions. We feel that these kinds of numbers are impossible to ignore for budding betting brands who are considering entering the Iowa market. But then again, only time will tell whether this comes to fruition.

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