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Iowa online gambling: a full guide

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Checked by Lorella F.Melanie H.

The Iowa online gambling landscape is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, the Hawkeye State legalized online sports betting in 2019; on the other, legal online casinos remain unavailable.

On this page, our experts tackle the issue head-on, pointing you toward the best legal options available in the state.

Use the below cards to zoom right to your area of interest, or continue scrolling for in-depth information.

Best IA online gambling sites

Let’s get right up close and personal to your top options in terms of gambling in Iowa. Our Time2play experts have tested and scored the best Iowa online gambling sites so you don’t need to waste your time wondering what’s legit and what’s not. 

Below, you will find our top selection of sites that offer online sports betting as well as social betting to players in Iowa. As soon as the first online casino is granted a license in the Hawkeye State, rest assured we’ll be ready to rate and score that, too.

Sportsbook logo Odds rating Bonus Go to sportsbook Button Show more T&C
1
Caesars sportsbook review
90/100 Expert rating by Ian Z. 94% Playscore based on Up to $1,000 back as a Bonus Bet on your first wager
Play now

Good to know

  • Excellent rewards program
  • Fast payouts
  • Bet on 20 different sports

9 payment methods

PayPal
Visa
Discover
MasterCard
VIP Preferred
Bank Transfer
Skrill
PayNearMe
Play+
2
BetMGM review
85/100 Expert rating by Anna M. 91% Playscore based on Up to $1,000 back in Bonus Bets
Play now

Good to know

  • Strong odds on football
  • Stellar customer support
  • Live streaming and live data

14 payment methods

VIP Preferred
Visa
MasterCard
TAPPP
PayNearMe
PayPal
Skrill
Play+
Bank Transfer
American Express
Discover
Cash at Casino Cage
Check
e-Check
3
Sportzino logo
Sportzino review
84/100 Expert rating by Paul P. 91% Playscore based on Up to 200,000 Gold Coins + 9 Sweeps Coins
Play now

Good to know

  • 41 sports
  • Early Withdraw option
  • Politics and entertainment betting

6 payment methods

Visa
MasterCard
Discover
ACH Network
Skrill
Trustly
4
Fliff logo
Fliff review
80/100 Expert rating by Ramona D. 83% Playscore based on 100% up to $100 FC
Play now

Good to know

  • Good sport selection
  • Offers college sports
  • Available in 41 states

5 payment methods

PayPal
Visa
Bank Transfer
MasterCard
Skrill

Iowa gambling laws fall within the remit of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC). To make life simpler, think of sports betting, fantasy sports, landbased casinos and social casinos as completely separate when trying to understand Iowa online gambling.

Although regulated by the same entity, they all come with different licensing requirements and regulations.

The gambling age in Iowa also differs according to sector. We will be taking a deep dive into each area to help you choose the best Iowa online gambling sites for you.

Gambling verticalOffline legal ageOnline legal ageOnline since
Casinos21n/an/a
Social casinosn/a212019
Sportsbooks21212019
Pokern/an/an/a
Lottery21n/an/a
Daily Fantasy Sportsn/a212019

Online sports betting — legal since 2019 

The Hawkeye State is one of the newest arrivals to the world of online wagering, but it’s taken a surprisingly short time for Iowa online gambling to take flight, especially when it comes to sports betting.

Currently, there are 18 sportsbooks licensed by the IRGC, as well as two of the most well-known Daily Fantasy Sports operators. Here, we bring you our experts’ choice of those Iowa online gambling sites that ranked highest across the board. Our list of best sports betting sites in Iowa offers players ample sports and markets to bet on at good odds, together with fair and regular promotions.

Social casinos — the alternative to online casinos in Iowa

We dive right into the question on every player’s mind. When will Iowa online gambling welcome online casinos? While no one can predict the future, we’ll say it to you as it is: as things stand right now, much like the case with Nevada gambling, there doesn’t seem to be any movement in the Hawkeye State to legalize online casino games. This is also the situation with Maryland online gambling and Mississippi online gambling

Where does this leave players who don’t want to visit a physical casino to have a go on the slots or on any other casino game? Social casinos like Pulsz and sweepstakes casinos like Fortune Coins offer a thrilling alternative, and are perfectly legal to enjoy in Iowa. This is mostly because they don’t require players to gamble real money to enjoy the games, which means that they are not considered online gambling sites in the eyes of the law.

While Iowa online casinos aren’t legal yet, check out our list of the top sweeps and social casinos in the state. They’ve all been rated the best for gameplay, interface, variety and overall experience. 

Casino Logo Odds rating Bonus Go to casino Button Show more T&C
1
WOW Vegas logo
WOW Vegas review
94/100 Expert rating by Anna M. 92% Playscore based on 1.5 million WOW Coins + 35 free Sweepstakes Coins
Play now

Good to know

  • Daily log-in bonus
  • 1,000+ slots to play
  • 35 SC on first purchase

8 payment methods

American Express
Apple Pay
MasterCard
Skrill
Visa
Trustly
Discover
Diners Club
2
Ding Ding Ding review
91/100 Expert rating by Paul P. 82% Playscore based on 100,000 Gold Coins + 2.5 Sweepstakes Coins
Play now

Good to know

  • Cryptocurrency purchases
  • Over 960 games
  • 9 live games

15 payment methods

Visa
MasterCard
American Express
Discover
Google Pay
Cryptocurrency
Bitcoin
Ethereum
Litecoin
Bitcoin Cash
Tron
Tether
Dash
ACH Network
Gift cards
3
Zula logo
Zula review
89/100 Expert rating by Paul P. 87% Playscore based on Up to 100,000 GC + 10 SC
Play now

Good to know

  • Monthly raffles
  • Unique fish games
  • Bespoke software

3 payment methods

Visa
MasterCard
Skrill
4
Spree.com review
88/100 Expert rating by Paul P. 79% Playscore based on 1,000,000 Gold Coins + 2.5 Spree Coins
Play now

Good to know

  • 750+ games
  • 3 live games available
  • Fast gift card redemptions

5 payment methods

Visa
MasterCard
Apple Pay
Bank Transfer
Gift cards
5
Sweepsteaks Ltd
Stake.us review
88/100 Expert rating by Claire S. 96% Playscore based on 250,000 Gold Coins and $25 Stake Cash
Play now

Good to know

  • Exclusive Time2play bonus
  • VIP rewards program
  • Giveaways and challenges

11 payment methods

Bitcoin
Binance Coin
Bitcoin Cash
Cryptocurrency
Dogecoin
EOS
Ethereum
Litecoin
Tether
Ripple
Tron
6
McLuck social casino logo
McLuck review
88/100 Expert rating by Charlie S. 90% Playscore based on 57,000 Gold Coins + 27.5 free Sweeps Coins
Play now

Good to know

  • Exclusive Time2play bonus code
  • 150% bonus on $9.99 package
  • Live casino games

4 payment methods

Visa
MasterCard
Apple Pay
Google Pay
7
Chumba review
88/100 Expert rating by Claire S. 87% Playscore based on 2,000,000 Gold Coins and 2 FREE Sweeps Coins
Play now

Good to know

  • Free virtual currency daily
  • Compete for extra rewards
  • Safe and secure payments

9 payment methods

MasterCard
American Express
Visa
Discover
Skrill
paysafecard
Trustly
Bank Transfer
Gift cards
8
RealPrize review
87/100 Expert rating by Paul P. 82% Playscore based on 100,000 Gold Coins + 2 free Sweeps Coins
Play now

Good to know

  • Weekly themed promos
  • Seven exclusive games
  • 384-bit SSL with ECDSA

5 payment methods

Visa
MasterCard
Skrill
Bank Transfer
Gift cards
9
Pulsz review
87/100 Expert rating by Claire S. 84% Playscore based on Up to 367,000 Gold Coins + 32.3 free Sweepstakes Coins
Play now

Good to know

  • Social media and VIP rewards
  • Regular tournaments and contests
  • 700+ games

8 payment methods

Visa
Skrill
MasterCard
American Express
Bank Transfer
Apple Pay
Trustly
Google Pay
10
Jackpota logo
Jackpota review
87/100 Expert rating by Paul P. 80% Playscore based on 7,500 Gold Coins + 2.5 Sweeps Coins
Play now

Good to know

  • Live social casino
  • Table games available
  • High-value welcome bonus

8 payment methods

Visa
MasterCard
Google Pay
Apple Pay
Skrill
ACH Network
Bank Transfer
Gift cards

Online poker — available at social casinos

Poker is another area that sadly lags behind on the Iowa online gambling scene. Those who are familiar with the game are aware of the level of skill required to excel, which is why many Iowa players have protested the fact that poker is lumped together with online casino games that depend purely on chance. While poker can be enjoyed physically at any one of the 23 physical casinos present in the state, Iowa gambling laws have not green-lit the online version of the game.

But even here there is a happy loophole for poker players in terms of online gambling in Iowa. Plenty of social casinos, such as Global Poker and Gambino Slots, offer a range of poker games. In fact, this is exactly the same as the same situation on the Illinois online gambling scene. Our experts have checked out the most reputable social casino and sweepstakes sites and scored them according to the Time2play rating criteria.

Our experts take into account everything from game variety to ease of payouts, software options and more. To the right, you’ll find our overall winner for social poker games. 

Other forms of gambling in Iowa

Residents in the Hawkeye State have always enjoyed wagering and gambling, even though up till recently they had to visit physical parlors to do this. Lotteries, bingo and charity-based raffles are three of the most popular forms of gambling Iowa, and remain a very strong industry to date. Moreover, the 2019 Iowa gambling laws that legalized sports betting also opened the door to other forms of online gambling, such as Daily Fantasy Sports. 

horse-racing-betting

Horse racing

Iowa has had a strong horse-racing gambling tradition for the best part of four decades. Iowa gambling laws first made provision for betting on horse-racing in May 1983, when the Pari-Mutuel Wagering Act was passed. In essence, this made it legal for players to bet against other players on horse-racing events, as long as wagers were laid down at the licensed racetrack. Iowa in fact has one licensed racetrack called Prairie Meadows.
daily-fantasy-sports-betting

Daily fantasy sports

The 2019 sports betting bills also made provision to add daily fantasy sports to online gambling in Iowa. Like sports betting, the legal gambling age in Iowa for daily fantasy sports is 21. The state currently has licensed two or the biggest names in the sector, DraftKings and FanDuel. Both sites regularly organize big-money tournaments for the likes of the NFL, MLB, UFC and PGA, which are extremely popular with IA online gambling.
us-lottery-card-iowa

Iowa Lottery

1985 saw the first state-sanctioned lottery happening in Iowa, regulated by the Iowa Lottery Board. The game turned out to be very popular in the Hawkeye State, with an instant-scratch game following months after that same year and Powerball and multi-denominational tickets introduces in 1992. Today, the lottery is regulated by the Iowa Lottery Authority.
bingo-card-and-numbers

Bingo

Although Iowa gambling laws don’t make provision for playing bingo online and there are no specialist bingo halls, there are a number of Native American licensed land-based casinos offering a variety of bingo games. The most well-known one is probably the Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel, which is licensed by the Iowa Indian Gaming Casinos. Charitable organizations are, however, allowed to organize bingo games and competitions.

Offline gambling: casinos in Iowa

Gambling in Iowa is not limited to IA gambling sites – the offline casino site is thriving, with a total of 23 casino resorts and a riverboat casino available for those who enjoy IRL gambling.

Of these, three tribal casinos are licensed by the National Indian Gaming Commission, while the IRGC has granted licenses to 20 state casinos. This number includes the Ameristar 2, a riverboat casino. Waterside gambling was legalized in Iowa in 1991.

Retail casinoLaunch dateLocationPoker roomsRetail sportsbookOnline sportsbookSocial casino
Ameristar 2May 27, 1994River Road, Council BluffsYesYesYesNo
Casino Queen MarquetteFebruary 2000Anti-Monopoly Street MarquetteYesYesYesNo
Catfish Bend CasinoNovember 1994Winegard Dr. BurlingtonYesYesYesNo
Diamond Jo CasinoDecember 2008Bell Street DubuqueYesYesYesNo
Diamond Jo WorthApril 2006Diamond Jo Lane NorthwoodYesYesYesNo
Grand Falls Casino ResortJune 2011Grand Falls Blvd. LarchwoodYesYesYesNo
Hard Rock Hotel & CasinoAugust 20143rd St. Sioux CityYesYesYesNo
Harrah’sJanuary 1995Harrah’s Boulevard Council BluffsYesYesYesNo
Horseshoe CasinoFebruary 198623rd Avenue Council BluffsYesYesYesNo
Iowa Greyhound ParkJuly 1985Greyhound Park Road DubuqueNoNoNoNo
Isle Casino Hotel WaterlooApril 1995Isle of Capri Blvd WaterlooYesYesYesNo
Isle of Capri – BettendorfJuly 2007Isle Parkway BettendorfYesYesYesNo
Lakeside Hotel CasinoAugust 2019Casino Drive OsceolaYesYesYesNo
Prairie MeadowsMarch 1989Prairie Meadows Drive AltoonaYesYesYesNo
Q CasinoJune 1985Greyhound Park Rd DubuqueYesYesYesNo
Rythm City CasinoJune 2016Elmore Avenue DavenportYesYesYesNo
Riverside Casino & Golf ResortAugust 1966Highway 22 RiversideYesYesYesNo
Wild Rose Casino & Resorts – ClintonJuly 2008Wild Rose Drive ClintonYesYesYesNo
Wild Rose Casino & Resorts – EmmetsburgAugust 2006Main St. EmmetsburgYesYesYesNo
Wild Rose Casino & Resorts – JeffersonJuly 2015Wild Rose Drive JeffersonYesYesYesNo
Blackbird Bend CasinoJuly 1992210th St | OnawNoNoNoNo
Meskwaki Bingo CasinoAugust 1992305th Street TamaYesYesYesNo
Prairie Flower CasinoNovember 2018Avenue H, Carter LakeNoNoNoNo
Winnavegas Casino HotelApril 1992330th St, SloanYesNoNoNo

How we rate online gambling sites in Iowa

At Time2play we have created a set of objective criteria that allow our experts to offer honest and informed ratings, using their expertise to score gambling sites IA on the basis of overall experience offered to players.

Each criteria carries a score out of 100, and is based on measurable data to guarantee consistency. For example, the games score would be based on elements like the number of games available, number of software providers and so forth. 

These criteria never change and every section score is clearly visible on the review. This means that when a gambling platform scores higher than others you can trace the reason for this by comparing the individual scores. You will find more detailed information on our methodology page.

Licensing and trust

At the very minimum, Iowa online gambling sites recommended by our experts will have the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission seal of approval, together with other seals of trust to indicate overall fairness and security.

Platforms like BetRivers sportsbook, which won the EGR Awards, the American Gambling Awards and the Global Gaming Awards, will naturally score higher as they have earned the trust of these independent bodies. 

Products

With Iowa online gambling law focusing on sportsbooks, our experts put great stock on the quality of sports betting offered by the sites we rate. Our top votes go to those platforms that offer a big variety of sports and markets to wager on, like SugarHouse sportsbook, with 1000+markets even in Iowa.

With respect to social casinos, we take into account game variety, especially the availability of table games, live games, poker and tournaments. Bonus points go to those that partner up with more than one reputable software provider, like BetRivers social casino.

Gambling apps

Does the operator offer the full gaming experience on your mobile device, or do they have only a smaller percentage of the games that are on desktop? Is there an app for both iOS and Android? If yes, how smooth and user-friendly is it? Having the full spectrum of games is not much use if your app keeps crashing or freezing, so these are all considerations that our experts give a lot of importance to when deciding which Iowa sportsbook or social casino can make our top list.

Payments

In states like New Jersey we expect nine payment methods or more, but in Iowa the trend is for operators to offer an average of five to six. Thus, BetMGM sportsbook, which offers eight, will receive a high score from us.   

Our experts also tend to favor those operators that don’t impose annoying minimum withdrawals or withdrawal limits on players. Put it this way, if we’re free to withdraw anything under $10, we’re definitely smiling your way.

Platform

Our experts like to see an operator with a very well-rounded offering because it tells us that these people know their stuff and are to be trusted to deliver their A-game to players. If a sportsbook also offers online casino games in other states, we know that this brand has taken time to build itself and won’t risk any shenanigans that endanger its reputation.

The same applies to social casinos that are licensed to offer real money games in other states. Our top-rated Iowa gambling sites, like SugarHouse and FanDuel, fulfil all criteria.

Iowa online gambling and safety

The Hawkeye State may not be the state with the most generous gambling laws for US online casinos, but Iowa online gambling laws nonetheless provide for a very sound licensing system that is the responsibility of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

The IRGC ensures all operators that are given the green light to operate have satisfied a number of rigorous requirements. Online gambling laws in Iowa require the commission to operate on the basis of transparency, with every single gambling entity that makes the cut for a license listed on the IRGC website. This includes physical gambling facilities, online sportsbooks, daily fantasy sports and horse-racing. If it’s not online, it’s not legit. 

Iowa gambling laws: a brief history

Since the very first horse racing license was granted in 1984, Iowa gambling laws have seen massive changes. Sporting events are ingrained in the culture of the state, and since the 2019 green lighting of both physical and online sports betting, the industry has taken a massive leap forward. Here we take a look at some key events that helped shaped Iowa law for online gambling.

 

horseracing-gambling-on-computer
1983

First IRGC board set up

The setting up of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission paves the way for more structured Iowa gambling laws.

horse-racing-law
1983

Pari-Mutuel Wagering Act passes

The act allowed licensed organizations to allow patrons to lay down wagers against other patrons on horse and dog racing. 

casino-cards-roulette-wheel
1989

Simulcast wagering approved

Bettors can now take bets on races taking place in other states

riverboat-casino
1991

Riverboat gambling kicks off

Iowa is the first US state to legalize riverboat gambling. Originally, bets couldn’t be higher than $5 and players could not lose more than $200 during one session in a casino.

casino-chips-and-money
1994

24-hour gambling introduced

The $5 per hand limit and $200 loss ceiling are also removed 

sport-icons-on-computer-screen
August 2019

Sports betting legalized

A law is approved allowing both mobile and in-person sports betting, with an onslaught of retail outlets and online sportsbooks applying for a license.

sports-betting-legalized-colorado
October 2019

Daily Fantasy Sports legalized

The door opens for daily fantasy sports betting, with FanDuel and DraftKings immediately throwing their hats in the ring.

Latest updates

Since Iowa legalized online sports betting in 2019, the biggest question in the Hawkeye State has been: is the next step likely to include the legalization of online casino games? But the biggest bone of contention here, even more than online slots and table games, is the green-lighting of online poker, which is a very big deal for players in the state.

The main issue appears to be that the IRGC puts poker in the same basket as casino games that are purely based on chance, which means that all efforts to legalize the online version have, so far, met with resistance. Below, you will find the latest official developments. 

FAQs

Can you gamble online in Iowa?

As of August 2019, you can gamble online at licensed sports betting sites in Iowa. However, real money online casinos and online poker tournaments remain illegal. Players who wish to enjoy casino games online have the alternative of visiting on of the top social casinos we have reviewed.

Where can I gamble in Iowa?

There are 23 licensed offline casinos in Iowa. Nineteen of these are licensed by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, while the rest are tribal casinos licensed by the Iowa Indian Gaming Casinos.

What is the legal age to gamble in Iowa?

When did Iowa legalize gambling?

Gambling was first legalized in Iowa in 1983, when the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission was set up and the first Pari-Mutuel Wagering Act passed. In 1989, simulcast wagering was approved and since then great strides have been made both for in-person and online gambling. You will find more detailed information in our Iowa gambling laws overview.

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