Online Sports Betting in Iowa

Iowa Gambling Laws

Iowa gambling law is 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.

When sports betting – online and land-based – comes to Iowa it is expected to arrive via that method, the State Legislature approving a model to go to a referendum for the state’s citizens to decide.

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.

Legality of Sports Betting VS Gambling

Iowa’s legal gambling options include 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 No No
Casinos Yes No
Fantasy Sports (DFS) N/A No
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 N/A
DFS 21
Casinos 21
Horse Racing 21
Lottery 21
Charitable Gambling 21

Betting on Sports in Iowa

As recently as December 2017, the Iowa Gaming Association (IGA) begun working on sports betting legislation should the federal prohibition of sports betting be lifted.

As we know now, the Supreme Court did end up striking down the restrictive laws, handed the legal sports betting decision making back to the states to decides for themselves, and as a result, Iowa lawmakers are now free to legislate.

House Study Bill 592 looking to regulate legalized sports betting, was introduced to the Iowa State Legislature in January 2018. If and when it is passed, HS 592 will potentially allow wagering on professional and college sports at racetracks, local casinos and via selected and licensed online sports betting sites.

Iowa Online Sports Betting Laws

Online Sports Betting is currently prohibited in Iowa, and unfortunately, Iowa has made no move to expand the online betting options available to its visitors and residents. Fortunately, land-based gambling is widespread in Iowa, however, it is possibly down to that fact there is no political will to introduce legislation to the State House to legalize online casinos or online sports betting.

Past legislative attempts in Iowa have all focused on getting internet poker legalized rather than sports betting or concentrating on online casino laws. Gambling experts across the U.S. consider it may be some time before Iowa may change its stance on online sports betting with the land-based gambling sector being so strong in Iowa.

Meanwhile, online betting on horse and greyhound racing is the legal outlet for the online sports bettor to wager on in Iowa.

Online Fantasy Sports in Iowa

U.S. Federal Law exempts Fantasy Sports (DFS) as a form of gambling, as the DFS competitions have been determined by Federal lawmakers to be skill-based competitions. While many state governments tend to agree with the Federal ruling on DFS, Iowa does not.

At the moment, Iowa’s state gaming laws prohibit real money online DFS betting.  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.

The repeated legalization attempts all goes to show that Iowa’s legislators are determined to have DFS legal in the state and it appears to be only a matter of time until they succeed. Until they are successful, all major DFS companies are unable to legally accept players from the Hawkeye State to participate in their real money competitions.

eSports Online Betting Laws

With legal sports betting soon to be a reality in Iowa, eSports betting will offer the state’s residents never before seen betting markets in a brand of betting that is untouched the troubled and unlegalized past, and in many U.S. states, it is eSports that is driving the change.

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.

 Trackside Betting

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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