It may come as a surprise to many people that the state that produces one in every ten pieces of produce for the entire country is also responsible for a thriving gambling culture and industry. While corn, dice and cards aren’t the normal blend of entertainment ingredients, Iowa offers the least restrictive gambling laws in the Midwest.
Betting entertainment in the Hawkeye State consists of casino gambling (both tribal and commercial), live poker, pari-mutuel wagering, social and charitable gaming, and a state lottery. Sports betting is an altogether different animal, with its own set of rules and regulations handed down to each state, including Iowa, by the US federal government. How does this impact sports betting in Iowa? The answer to that question is where things start to get a little bit complicated.
In an effort to support individuals seeking information about legal sportsbook gambling opportunities in Iowa, we have created this comprehensive resource that effectively provides insight into the sports betting industry and the legalities involved.
We will provide an explanation regarding Iowa’s state gambling laws as well as US federal gambling laws and how they intersect to create the existing legal landscape as is relevant to state-based sports betting entertainment in Iowa. Once we cover what is and is not legal in Iowa, we provide you with information that guides you to legal US online sports betting opportunities that do not violate any state or federal laws.
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Is Sports Betting Legal In Iowa?
As mentioned previously, Iowa is very relaxed with most forms of betting. In 2019, Iowa state legislatures passed a sports betting bill that will allow domestic sports betting to residents over the age of 21. Domestic sports betting is expected to launch in September of 2019. A mobile platform is expected to launch alongside the brick-and-mortar sportsbooks.
Iowa residents also have access to legal offshore sportsbooks that service the United States. While the majority of sports bettors wait for the domestic options there are some important features offshore sportsbooks have that are not available from state-regulated sportsbooks including local college team betting, lucrative bonuses, and no geolocation restrictions.
Laws To Consider
When you run across a state like Iowa that actually allows gambling across the board, you still have to realize that gambling in such an area is still very much a regulated activity. What this means is that Iowa will still punish people for gambling; where their attitude is really lax is with the act of betting. If you're a resident of Iowa and you like laying your money down on bets, then the state doesn't consider you a criminal. They don't view you as doing anything that's illegal or immoral. However, if you were to simply throw a poker table in your billiards hall or put a slot machine in your gas station, then you would be in violation of Iowa gambling laws. This falls under 725.5 of Iowa's legal code, which is entitled "Keeping gambling houses." This statute basically says that a person shall not conduct any business that accepts money for gambling wagers, whether cards, dice, faro, roulette, craps, a punchboard, lotto, slot machines, etc. A silver lining here, however, is that doing such is only a misdemeanor offense rather than a felony, but it's still something Iowa holds to be illegal.
Where the legality of Iowa's gambling comes into play is what they allow per state regulations. In other words, if you own that pool hall and want to put some sort of gambling in it, you have to clear it with the state. Doing so may just allow you to offer regulated games of chance so that you can offer gambling options to your customers while still operating within the law. Iowa probably isn't going to allow just any business to offer gambling, so that may be wishful thinking. But that is technically a way you can go about offering gambling games, by getting the state to regulate what you're doing. This explains why there are so many gambling options in Iowa that just pop up randomly. The state sponsors gambling in Iowa.
Casinos and Gambling Hot Spots of Iowa
Iowa might not have a host of professional teams to be proud about or any at all, but they offer something that a lot of states in the USA do not: Legal casinos at which residents can enjoy quality gambling. We're not talking about some strewn-together-haphazardly flophouse that the state-erected in order to milk more tax dollars from citizens. Iowa actually has a few legitimate casino resorts that are roomy, varied and beautiful. In fact, Iowa has over 20 casinos in their state, and a few of them are recognized around the entire globe for being great gambling spots. A prime example of this would be Harrah's in Council Bluffs. Harrah's is a world-famous casino chain, with locations in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and even in China. Their Iowa location has over 1,000 slots, hundreds of resort rooms, and its own golf course. They also have a poker room inside, which is a huge draw for Iowans.
And the list just goes on from here. You have the Cat Fish Bend casino and resort, the Mystique casino, Rhythm City, the Grand Falls Resort, the Wild Rose, Lady Luck, the Riverside Resort, and over a dozen more. Many of these casino locations have a live sportsbook option for those Iowans who love to bet on their favorite sports, and all of them have at least slots and a few game tables. Of course, with these state-based casinos, you're going to find that some are better than others. Some are rather small and don't have any hotel rooms, but others are legitimate resorts with golf courses and huge pools and fountains and spas and everything else that makes you feel like you're on a trip to Vegas or Macau. The appeal of Iowa's casinos stretches out through most of the Midwestern region. After all, the state doesn't have any professional sporting franchises that are going to bring in outside tourists, but people do stop in from all around to play at the state's variety of casinos. Some people even refer to Iowa as the Vegas of the Midwest, due not only to their many casinos but also due to their overall tolerance of gambling. Iowa has embraced the gambling culture wholesale, and they don't have any legislation sneaking down the pike that would potentially threaten their twenty-plus casinos or their lax way of viewing gambling.
Betting On The 2019 Iowa Hawkeyes
Coach Kirk Ferentz is set to begin his 21st season coaching the Hawkeyes, entering the season with 152 wins; both records for the school.
Iowa also enters the season with senior quarterback Nate Stanley, although the recipients of over half his touchdown passes last year are no longer with the team. Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson both left for the NFL, but Stanley still has Ihmir Smith-Marsette and Brandon Smith.
The Hawkeyes also return experienced players on the defense, including DE A.J. Espenesa and secondary players Matt Hankins, Michael Ojemudia, and Geno Stone.
The team lost some talent from 2018 but will still compete for a bowl game in 2019.
2019 NCAA Championship Odds to Win: +15000
Betting On The 2019 Iowa State Cyclones
Iowa State went 8-5 the last two seasons. But after losing David Montgomery and Hakeem Butler to the NFL, the Cyclones are expected to decline in production for 2019.
Brock Purdy took over for quarterback last season as a true freshman, going 7-2 in his starts. In 2019, Iowa State looks for his continued development to lead them through the season.
Although there are some questions about the cornerback position, Iowa State has a strong defense that could lead the Big 12 in scoring defense again this year. Purdy and the defense should be bright spots for a team that is likely to reach its third consecutive bowl game in 2019.
2019 NCAA Championship Odds to Win: TBD