Iowa online gambling options extend to brick-and-mortar sportsbooks and casinos, which include poker rooms. You can also legally bet on sports online within the state. However, online casinos and poker sites are currently not available.
In the last few years, Iowa also started to offer Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS), so you can play both DraftKings and FanDuel DFS, as well as their sportsbook apps.
Iowa offers social sites, also known as social casinos, for Iowans looking to play casino-style games online, like slots, table games, and poker for cash prizes.
Quick View Of Iowa Online Gambling
|Type of Gambling||Is It Legal?|
|Online Sports Betting||Yes. Six sports betting sites currently service the state of Iowa.|
|Online Horse Racing||Yes, but horse bets are listed outside of the traditional sportsbooks.|
|Online Lottery||Sort of. You can’t buy tickets online, but they have online promotions that can mean winning money.|
|Daily Fantasy Sports||Yes, along with 43 other states.|
|Social Casinos||Yes, you can play Funzpoints Casino to redeem cash prizes.|
|Social Poker Sites||Yes, you can play at Global Poker to redeem cash prizes.|
|Online Casino||No. Online casinos for cash prizes are illegal in Iowa.|
|Online Poker||No. Online poker for cash prizes is illegal in Iowa.|
Online Gambling In Iowa – What’s Allowed
Online sports betting is becoming even more common in states across the country. In Iowa, all sports betting sites are designed for both experienced bettors and newcomers. You can find very straightforward moneyline or Over/Under bets, as well as pari-mutuel wagers, point spreads, and exotics.
You can bet on all traditional team and individual sports in Iowa, including professional and college-level contests. In addition, some of the top online sportsbook brands in the country are available in Iowa, which includes FanDuel, DraftKings, BetRivers, and PointsBet.
See our guide to Iowa Online Sports Betting.
Betting On Horse Racing Online In Iowa
In some states, horse race wagers fall under the umbrella of the sportsbook. But in Iowa, you need to bet at a racebook to win money on the horses in almost all cases.
The one exception: Kentucky Derby futures. For that event, you can only bet on who you think will win from the sportsbook app.
Iowa’s only horse racing track is Prairie Meadows Casino, Racetrack, & Hotel. They’ve partnered with William Hill to allow mobile sports betting. But, they do not offer online horse racing wagers (aside from Kentucky Derby futures). You’d have to go to the racetrack to bet win, place, show, and so on.
To bet on the horses online, you can go with TVG, available in 33 states, including Iowa. Other options exist, but make sure it’s a legitimate site by researching before joining.
Iowa’s Online Lottery Portal
While the Des Moines Register reported in December 2018 that there’d been a push to offer online lottery ticket sales that have yet to manifest, the only way to buy a lotto ticket or a scratch-off is by visiting a brick-and-mortar retailer.
Still, the Iowa Lottery website offers some online casino-like features that virtual players may enjoy.
Check out the promotions section, which promises something new every month. A common one is the “second chance” drawings on losing tickets. Other examples include winning free tickets of equal value and prize pool contests.
If you play the lotto often, you should join the Iowa Lottery VIP Club. The VIP Club offers free ticket newsletters, new promo notifications, upcoming contests, and more.
Iowa Daily Fantasy Sports
While Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) has been available in dozens of states for years, Iowa just legalized it in 2019. So far, FanDuel and DraftKings are the only options, but more may pop up. However, those are the best two options regarding win potential and promotions.
That’s why online DFS is available in far more states than online sports betting. It’s also why you can be eighteen or older rather than 21 and up to play DFS.
It’s also worth noting that DFS is the only legal sports betting outlet that includes esports.
Playing Social Casinos In Iowa
If you want to play at a legal online casino in Iowa, your only option is a social casino. Social casinos do not accept cash prizes plays. However, you can redeem cash prizes and more.
At Funzpoints Casino, you can play using Premium Funzpoints to win cash prizes. New players can use the Funzpoints promo code link to receive $2.50 worth of Premium Funzpoints for creating an account. No purchase required. But you also get a 100% purchase-match bonus up to $20 free. Click here to claim.
Playing Social Poker Sites In Iowa
You can enter tournaments, play sit-and-go, and so on at social poker sites. In addition, they have promotions that include new player freerolls, just like the poker sites for cash prizes in places like New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
At both sites, buying their digital coins doesn’t increase your chances of winning any social prizes. Instead, it simply allows you to play more often.
Online Casinos And Poker Sites In Iowa
In some states with no online casinos, it’s a matter of no licenses being given out. But in Iowa, the law specifically prohibits online casinos, including online poker for cash prizes and more.
It’s one thing to create new legislation to give licenses to online casino operators. It’s another to repeal an explicit law, then roll out new legislation.
Folks in Iowa may have access to online casinos in the future. The majority of state residents approved legalizing sports betting. Also, online poker was up for a potential rollout as recently as 2011 and may see a comeback.
As Adam Sullivan pointed out in an article for The Gazette of Cedar Rapids, IA, poker is a skill-based game. If DFS is legal because of skill, then surely an argument can be made for online poker.
Only time will tell for online casinos and poker sites in Iowa.
History Of Iowa’s Online Gambling Market
Iowa’s online gambling timeline is extremely short because legal online sportsbooks only launched in 2019. DFS was also illegal in the state until that same year.
While states with legal online casinos and poker sites saw a huge uptick in betting during the COVID-19 lockdowns, online sportsbooks did not.
This is because sports competitions worldwide stopped for an extended period of time. This dramatically limited the number of potential wagers. While you could still bet on Russian volleyball and Korean baseball, only the most avid Iowan bettors placed bets during that time.
A commission to study online poker was formed in 2011. The final report was delivered in December 2011. Since then, no further movement has occurred on the online poker front. If online poker were legalized, another study would likely need to be commissioned, as the original one would be outdated.
Any new legislation regarding online gambling will need political capital. However, most Iowans were opposed to sports betting before legalization in February 2019. However, it became legal anyway, and a poll conducted in March 2020 showed that most support the new law.
That’s not to say anything is promising or unrealistic in the state. But online gambling in Iowa is a complex political debate that will continue to develop for years to come.
Overview Of In-Person Gambling In Iowa
A Brief History Of Iowa Casinos
The Hawkeye State didn’t have legal gambling legislation until 1983 with Iowa Code Chapter 99D – Pari-Mutuel Wagering. This made holding and betting on horse and dog races legal in the state.
Two years later, in 1985, the Iowa state lottery was formed. It also marked when you could buy a Mega Millions and Powerball ticket from within state lines.
In 1989, riverboat casinos were launched within the state. Each county that hosted the floating casino would need to approve, and all but one did. But it wasn’t until 1991 that the first riverboat casinos welcomed gamblers.
Three tribal casinos opened in 1992. Legislation in 2004 aimed at reducing problem gambling eliminated the ability to gamble with credit cards, and significantly reduced the number of ATMs at casinos.
By 2007, casinos expanded beyond riverboats to brick-and-mortar locations.
Fast Facts About Iowa Gambling
|Is the lottery legal in Iowa?||Yes|
|Does Iowa have land-based casinos?||Yes|
|Does Iowa have racetracks?||Yes (only one, horses-only)|
|Can you gamble outside of casinos in Iowa?||No. TouchPlay machines were shut down in 2006.|
|How old do you have to be to gamble in Iowa?||21 (at both state and tribal casinos)|
|Who regulates gambling in Iowa?||Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission|
How Many Casinos Are There In Iowa?
Iowa boasts 23 casinos across the state. Four are tribal casinos, and one is a riverboat casino.
The area with the most casinos is the border city of Council Bluffs. This is due to its proximity to Omaha, Nebraska, which has more than twice the population of Iowa’s largest city, Des Moines.
However, the casinos are pretty well dispersed throughout the state. Everyone in Iowa has a casino within driving distance. The vast majority can get to a casino in under an hour.
Here is a complete list of the casinos in Iowa:
|Ameristar Council Bluffs||Council Bluffs||Commercial||Casino, Sportsbook|
|Blackbird Bend Casino||Onawa||Tribal||Casino|
|Casino Queen Marquette||Marquette||Riverboat||Casino|
|Catfish Bend Casino||Burlington||Commercial||Casino, Sportsbook, Poker Rooms|
|Diamond Jo Casino||Dubuque||Commercial||Casino|
|Diamond Jo Casino||Worth County||Commercial||Casino, Sportsbook, Poker Rooms|
|Grand Falls Casino||Larchwood||Commercial||Casino, Sportsbook, Poker Rooms|
|Hard Rock Sioux City||Sioux City||Commercial||Casino|
|Harrah’s Council Bluffs||Council Bluffs||Commercial||Casino, Sportsbook|
|Horseshoe Council Bluffs||Council Bluffs||Commercial||Casino, Sportsbook, Poker Rooms|
|Isle Casino Bettendorf||Bettendorf||Commercial||Casino, Sportsbook|
|Isle Casino Waterloo||Waterloo||Commercial||Casino, Sportsbook|
|Lakeside Hotel & Casino||Osceola||Commercial||Casino, Sportsbook|
|Meskwaki Casino||Tama||Tribal||Casino, Poker Rooms|
|Prairie Flower Casino||Carter Lake||Tribal||Casino|
|Prairie Meadows||Altoona||Commercial||Casino, Sportsbook, Poker Rooms|
|Q Casino||Dubuque||Commercial||Casino, Sportsbook, Poker Rooms|
|Rhythm City Casino Resort||Davenport||Commercial||Casino, Sportsbook|
|Riverside Casino||Riverside||Commercial||Casino, Sportsbook, Poker Rooms|
|Wild Rose Casino||Clinton||Commercial||Casino, Sportsbook|
|Wild Rose Casino||Emmetsburg||Commercial||Casino, Sportsbook|
|Wild Rose Casino||Jefferson||Commercial||Casino, Sportsbook|
|WinnaVegas Casino Resort||Sloan||Tribal||Casino, Poker Rooms|
Biggest Casinos In Iowa By Type
The two largest casinos in Iowa are Prairie Meadows in Altoona and the Horseshoe in Council Bluffs. Prairie Meadows has the most slot machines, and the Horseshoe has the most table games.
However, the Hard Rock in Sioux City might have the most square footage, which includes two different music venues.
The largest sportsbook is Prairie Meadows, which includes a full-sized race track, a full sportsbook, and over 1,700 different slot machines.
You can also download the William Hill sportsbook app while you’re there to bet on sports from anywhere within the state of Iowa.
Nine live poker rooms exist in the state of Iowa, and all share a building with casino-style games. The largest of the nine is Horseshoe Council Bluffs, which boasts 18 poker tables.
Lowdown On The Iowa Lottery
The Iowa Lottery offers the Pick 3 and Pick 4 games, where correct numbers win a payout. But you can choose a set of three (or four) numbers and select the type of game you want to play: straight, box, and others. The longer the odds, the larger the payout.
Another unique lottery option in Iowa is InstaPlay. Your lottery ticket will print, and you’ll know if you win instantly. It’s dubbed the “scratchless scratch-off” for this reason—the more expensive the InstaPlay ticket, the bigger the potential prize.
The Iowa lottery also offers both pull-tab and scratch-off games.
Iowa shares an interstate lottery with several other areas through Mega Millions, Powerball, Lucky for Life, and Lotto America.
Retailers also offer a convenient “Play ‘Em All” ticket that allows you to buy tickets for all the Mega Balls and Powerballs available. So rather than buy a single $2 ticket, you’d pay $52 to “play ‘em all.”
You can receive random numbers through the lottery terminal when buying a lotto ticket. Or you can manually choose the numbers by asking the clerk for a playslip. Then, follow the instructions by filling in the number slots for the numbers you want to choose.
You can also do “multi-draws,” where you can have your numbers apply to multiple consecutive draws.
To check numbers, earn reward points, and get free tickets, download the LotteryPlus mobile app.
Horse Racing In Iowa
Horse racing in Iowa occurs only at the Prairie Meadows Racino in Altoona.
This venue hosts both thoroughbred and quarter horse races. They also host special race days. You can find the full calendar of upcoming races on their website.
The main track no longer hosts harness racing. However, you can watch and bet on harness racing in the live sportsbook. Unfortunately, aside from Kentucky Derby futures, it’s not possible to bet on horse racing through the William Hill app in Iowa.
Greyhound racing still exists in Iowa at the Iowa Greyhound Park in Dubuque. Currently, they are only one of four states that still hosts pari-mutuel dog racing. It would be surprising if any states still offer it by the end of the decade.
Keep Learning: 5 Links To More Info On Iowa Gambling
- All Iowa Code statutes involving legal gambling.
- About Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission
- Iowa Casino Guide courtesy of the Des Moines Register.
- How to play different Iowa lottery options.
- Iowa tribal casinos guide and directory.
Iowa Online Gambling FAQs
The Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission (IRGC) regulates all forms of gambling in the state of Iowa other than the lottery. This includes Iowa online gambling. The IRGC also regulates local DFS operations, as their oversight powers extend to both online and land-based gambling. The lottery is run by the Iowa Lottery Authority.
The state first legalized casinos in Iowa in 1989 with the condition that it be a riverboat casino. In 1991, the first riverboat casino officially opened. The first land-based casino didn’t open until 2007.
In just 30 years, a state with no casino industry now has 23. However, most states outside of New Jersey and Nevada had no casinos until 1988. And Iowa has fewer casinos than most of the 39 states with a casino market.
Yes. The legal gambling age is 21 whether you’re gambling online or at a land-based casino.
If you thought the age requirement had to do with serving alcohol, you might still be right. But it doesn’t change the fact that legal adults can’t legally place bets in Iowa until they’re 21 or over.
Yes. As long as you’re joining a locally-licensed online sportsbook, your personal information will remain safe. You’ll also know for sure that you won’t be ripped off by the operator.
However, you still need to gamble responsibly, which includes never betting more than you can afford to lose. Otherwise, no form of gambling is safe.
Legal online casinos, sportsbook apps, and poker sites are safe to play. State regulatory bodies across the US are extremely strict about game fairness and transparency, especially because gambling was legalized to generate tax revenue.
But we cannot recommend that anyone gamble online at offshore sites. While it may be tempting to play at an illegal online casino in a state without legal options, there’s no guarantee that your information remains safe or that the games are fair.
State law requires that you show your ID to prove that you’re 21 before you can enter a betting establishment. That’s why the online sportsbooks require you to be physically inside the casino to register.
The betting site may also ask for documentation, such as a photo of your ID, to confirm your identity before you redeem. This is to ensure that they’re sending your winnings to the right person.