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Iowa moved swiftly to become the first of America’s mid-western states and the 11th US state to launch sports betting. Bettors in the Hawkeye State can look forward to a regulated industry inclusive of both land-based betting and, eventually, full-scale mobile betting.


Legal Online Gambling Options: Sports Betting

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Online Gambling Iowa

At UnitedGamblers, we strive to provide you with the latest information about gambling in Iowa. Whether you're here to find out where you can place a sport bet or play at a casino, we have you covered!

Sports betting is now permitted across the state. Wagers can be made at land-based casinos and via mobile devices anywhere within state lines, following an in-person registration process.

Iowa Online Gambling FAQs

Here's a quick run-down of the most important nuggets of knowledge about Iowa sports gambling.

Is it legal to bet in Iowa?

Yes. Sports betting is legal in Iowa. The Hawkeye state becomes the 11th state to roll out a regulated industry since PASPA was toppled in May 2018.

When did sports betting become legal in Iowa?

Governor Kim Reynolds signed bill SF617 into law on May 13 and legally, sports betting was good to go as of July 4. This wasn’t realistic thus many state-licenced casinos had sports betting licences approved July in readiness for the industry’s launch on August 15, just in time for the start of the NFL season.

How many online sportsbooks are live in Iowa?

Eight land-based sportsbooks are up and running with seven offering online wagering.

How do I sign up to an online betting site in Iowa?

Iowan bettors must visit a licensed casino in-person with proof of age and identity, in order to create an account. In-person registration applies up until January 1 2021, after which Iowans can set-up an account online anywhere in state lines. Bettors are able to deposit funds into his or her account from anywhere in the state once an account is established.

Do I have to live in Iowa to bet?

No. It’s possible to create an account even should you only be visiting the state.

Can I place bets outside of Iowa?

No. You need to be within state borders to place a bet. Geo-fencing technology will be used to pinpoint your exact location.

Will online casino and poker games be available?

Unfortunately not. The law only allows for sports betting at present.

Is online gambling safe?

Yes. Iowa sports betting is regulated by the Iowa Gaming Commission. This means players are able to gamble at licensed and reputable sportsbooks, safe in the knowledge the company will act with integrity and lawfully. Online gambling has never been more safe to be honest. Each state to introduce legal sports betting knocks another nail in the coffin of offshore betting sites and the black market.

Online Gambling Iowa

The sports betting capital of the Midwest

Barely three months after passing legislation, The Hawkeye state officially has sports betting, becoming the first of the Middle West to launch a regulated industry.

And if the quick turnaround wasn’t impressive enough, mobile wagering will be available from the get-go.

Under the law, bettors will be able to bet anywhere within Iowa, though, a visit to a land-based casino is required to prove eligibility and create an account for mobile access. This will be the procedure until January 2021.

How does Iowa sports betting shape up?

Becoming the first Midwestern state to launch sports betting, is not only a big deal in terms of bragging rights.

Residents from neighboring states Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, all still without legal sports betting, will seek out Iowa as the closest place to wager on sports. Not only will the industry attract Iowans but almost every other sports fan with a betting interest too. Cha-Ching indeed!

Iowa sports betting bill SF617:

  • Sports betting:
  • Mobile sports betting: ✅ *(in-person sign-up required until January 2021)
  • Wager on pro sports:
  • Wager on college sports: ✅ *(betting on individual players forbidden)
  • Must be at least 21 years old to bet
  • Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) to regulate industry

Where to bet in Iowa

Legislation permits current gambling licensees - of which there currently 19 - to apply for a sports betting licence. Each licensee can partner with two operators, or, alternatively, launch one offering (skin) under their own brand and another with the partners brand.

Eight casinos have launched legal sports betting in Iowa with their respective partners.

William Hill

  • Prairie Meadows
  • Lakeside Casino
  • Isle Waterloo
  • Isle Bettendorf

Ameristar Casino Council Bluffs


  • Catfish Bend Casino


  • Rhythm City
  • Riverside

A handful more are also poised to pay the reasonably priced $75,000 license fee and launch prior to the new NFL season, making for a highly competitive market for Iowan bettors.

Whether all eighteen casinos will aim to launch sports betting is up for debate. Some may choose not to take on the extra expense and overheads a new line of business naturally brings and settle for their casino only status.

Nevertheless, expect some of the big industry names to make an appearance. DraftKings, FanDuel, 888, BetStars are all expected to show up in the near future. PointsBet are already committed having partnered with CatFish Bend Casino in Burlington.

William Hill sports betting

Sports betting specialists from across the pond and in their words, ‘America’s sports betting leader, William Hill bring a wealth of experience and integrity to Iowa sports betting.

Founded in 1934, there’s little to question in terms of reputation and industry knowledge. The operator has well established foundations in America already having already laid roots in Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, Mississippi, West Virginia and Rhode Island.

And the British sportsbook wasted no time in adding another state to their ever growing portfolio, showing their hand in the application process in Iowa early on.

How to bet at William Hill

William Hill is responsible for sports betting operations at four properties: Prairie Meadows, Lakeside Hotel & Casino, Isle Waterloo and Isle Bettendorf.

Mobile sports betting will be available at each location. However, mobile accounts have to be set-up in-person.

Your 4 step guide to creating a sports betting account with William Hill:

  1. Visit one of the four land-based casino highlighted above
  2. Provide all the necessary personal details (name, address, date of birth)
  3. Present a method of payment to fund your account
  4. Mobile account created - bet freely within Iowa from your mobile device

Popular types of bet

Be it at pro or college level, you can look forward to betting on your favorite game a number of different ways.

  • Moneyline
  • Totals
  • Point spread
  • Parlay
  • Teaser
  • Round Robin
  • Futures
  • In-game

How to Bet on NCCA Men’s Basketball

College basketball is popular across the nation, not just in Iowa. This year, excitement is set to further swell with the potential to bet in one of the most anticipated events of the sporting calendar: March Madness.

A knockout tournament played in March, the NCAA basketball playoffs manages to capture the imagination of every sports fan year on year, regardless of whether basketball tops their list or not.

Point Spread

Have you been put off a money line bet because of its lack of value?

For instance, one team is so heavily fancied to beat the other based on statistics, home advantage, head-to-head record etc. that only a stake of epic proportions will yield a profit. The likelihood of having come across this is probably high.

A spread bet levels the perceived difference in quality between two teams and combats the lack of value. This is achieved by assigning the favourite (expected to win) a negative (-) points value, and the underdog (not expected to win), a positive points (+) value.

Broken down, the favourite has their perceived advantage taken away, effectively handicapping them. The points are then given to the underdog, for the purpose of the bet of course, not in the actual game!

How does a point spread work?

Take a look at the example point spread below:

  • West Virginia +4.5 (-110) UNDERDOG
  • Kansas State -4.5 (-110) FAVOURITE

From this, we can see Kansas State is the team favoured to win by the sportsbook, with WV the outsiders. How can we tell this? Simply by the (-) value in front of the 4.5 and the (+) assigned to WV.

You haven’t missed a new rule, it’s ok, that is a half point you see. All this does is distinguish a winner and remove the prospect of a tie/push for the purpose of the bet.

So, with this in mind, let’s say you bet on the favourite - Kansas would need to win by 5 points or more for your bet to win.

The same applies when betting on the underdog - if West Virginia lose by more than 4 points, you lose your bet, and if they lose by 4 points or less, you’ll win.


Favourite: must win by more than the value given

Underdog: must avoid losing by a greater margin than the value given

How to Bet on the NFL

Iowans may not have a pro NFL team of their own but their thirst for football is as clear as day when they get behind the state’s adopted franchise The Minnesota Vikings, the team of the MidWest.

The Vikings have enjoyed relative success in modern times by winning the NFC North Championship four times since 2008, the latest coming in 2017.

The money line and the point spread are the two wagers bettors commonly go to when betting on the NFL

Exactly the same principles of the point spread in basketball, apply to NFL too so we’ll take you through money line betting, the easier of the two types of bet it's fair to say!

Money line

Placing a money line bet involves choosing the winner of a game between two opponents. Straight forward enough, right?

This example is an indication of how you can expect a money line to be presented:

  • New York Giants -600
  • Dallas Cowboys +450

The favourites here are the NY Giants as the minus (-) sign indicates. The underdogs are Dallas, as shown by the plus (+) sign. The numbers which follow are monetary values signaling how much you need to stake and the amount you can win.

With this information we can see a wager on the Giants (to win) would require a stake of $600, just to win $100. At the same time, a $100 bet on the Cowboys (to win) would earn a profit of $450.

How does a money line bet work?

Betting on something likely to happen brings little reward, unless you wager a significant stake.

Here, it’s presumed the Giants will win the game. The chances of you winning a bet on a Giants victory are high thus potential winnings are low.

On the flip side, should you plump for the Cowboys (the Underdogs), the possibility of losing your money is far greater, thus you stand to be rewarded for your initial risk.

This is why more and more of us are drawn towards betting on the underdog in this type of bet: pick the right match on the right day and yikes! A low stake could generate some serious dollar!

As we know in sports betting and gambling in general, there are no guarantees. More to the point though remember - “every dog has its day”.