The day is here. Sports betting is now legal and operational in Iowa! The Hawkeye State becomes the 11th state to accept legal sports bets on Thursday, Aug. 15, at noon. There are 19 licensed casinos eligible to offer sports betting in the state, but not all will be opening a retail or online sportsbook right away.
Iowa casinos with retail sportsbooks
In total, 22 casinos are in Iowa, but not all will offer sports betting. Even fewer will have a retail sportsbook ready for opening day. According to PlayIA.com, sports bettors will be able to head to the following casinos to place wagers at these retail sportsbook this week:
- Ameristar Council Bluffs
- Catfish Bend
- Isle Waterloo
- Isle Bettendorf
- Prairie Meadows
- Rhythm City
Legal Sports Report says that there should be 18 retail sportsbooks operating in Iowa by the kickoff of football season. The other retail sportsbooks should be opening on Aug. 19 or Aug. 26.
Hall of Fame baseball player and former Chicago Cub Andre Dawson was in Iowa to place the ceremonial first wager at the Isle Casino Waterloo. Meanwhile, Joseph Reynolds, a World War II veteran who resides in Clarke County, was on hand to make the first legal sports bet at Lakeside Casino.
Online and mobile sports betting in Iowa
Online sports betting in Iowa will roll out a bit slower than retail sportsbooks. William Hill and Bet.Works will offer online and mobile sports betting for the following casinos:
- Grand Falls (Bet.Works)
- Isle Waterloo (William Hill)
- Isle Bettendorf (William Hill)
- Lakeside (William Hill)
- Prairie Meadows (William Hill)
- Rhythm City (Bet.Works)
- Riverside (Bet.Works)
States that offer online and mobile wagering only allow bets to be placed within state lines. For example, a mobile account opened in Nevada cannot be used in Iowa. The rule applies to an account opened in Iowa. A bettor will have to open a new account when traveling to New Jersey or Pennsylvania, even if the account is with the same sportsbook operator used in Iowa.
Setting up and using an online or mobile sports betting account in Iowa
Setting up an online sports betting account in Iowa will be similar to setting up a sports wagering account in Las Vegas. Sports bettors must at least 21 years olf, have a valid ID and must visit a retail sportsbook to set up an online account in-person. Visitors from outside of the state can sign up for an account, but all bets must be placed inside state lines.
The process of signing up for an online sports betting account, being approved and funding the account should take about 10 minutes. It could take a little longer in Iowa since the process and many employees in sportsbooks are new. There will be a minimum amount to open an account for each sportsbook. Those will be available once open.
Grand Falls, Rhythm City and Riverside casinos will also need a casino players’ club card to set up and account. Anyone interested in opening a sports wagering account at any of these casinos can save a few minutes in the casino by getting the process started online at Elite Sportsbook.
Anyone interested in signing up for an account at Isle Waterloo, Isle Bettendorf, Lakeside and Prairie Meadows can receive updates from William Hill here.
The other Iowa casinos with sports betting licenses will offer online and mobile sports betting at a later date. PlayIowa should have regular updates on retail and online sports betting in the state.
Brick-and-mortar casinos sometimes offer signup bonuses for new online and mobile sports betting accounts. Always ask the ticket writer if there’s a promotion available when visiting a casino to sign up for an online account.
Why does online sports betting matter in Iowa?
Sure, there are more than a dozen retail locations to place wagers in Iowa. But placing a sports bet from your mobile device, whether you’re at home or anywhere else in the state, is incredibly convenient. The ability to wager on a phone or tablet takes sports betting to another level.
Betting online is also the quickest way to place a bet. While this might not be a big deal for pregame betting, the speed of online and mobile betting is crucial for live and in-play betting during a game. Odds change pretty quickly during a game and mobile is often the only way to place a wager during a game.
Online and mobile betting can allow a bettor to make more informed decisions. These modes of betting allow flexibility. A bettor can research a game online at home and immediately place a wager while the research is fresh.
Lastly, mobile betting is an asset for the lazy sports fan. A bettor never has to leave his or her seat in a sportsbook to place a mobile wager. Even if a bettor is inside of a casino, he or she doesn’t have to leave the bar, restaurant or other casino game to place a wager. A wager can be placed from anywhere within the state. Mobile wagering is convenient wherever a bettor may be.
We’ll have much more on Iowa’s new sports betting market in the coming months. For more in-depth coverage, be sure to follow our friends at Legal Sports Report.