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Guide to Online Gambling in Iowa

Two rivers and six states border Iowa. When it comes to corn production and cereal companies (Quaker Oats), it’s #1 in the country. There are 83 state parks and ten state forests, and the numbers game extends to gambling and online gambling in Iowa as well.

Even though Iowa was slow to get started, gambling expansion in the Hawkeye State is on a roll. 19 casinos put most Iowans in proximity to slots, table games, and, most recently, sportsbooks. The best Iowa gambling sites offer additional options, too.

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Land-based gambling opportunities are all around in Iowa. The lottery has been in full swing since 1985, and punters are placing pari-mutuel bets at racetracks and OTB locations. Even charity gaming goes beyond bingo and extends to raffles and some table games.

While Iowa online gambling sites aren’t as prominent, they do exist. Not only are the casinos planning to roll out mobile betting programs, but daily fantasy sports are also legal and in-state regulated.

Other real money gambling sites in IA don’t originate from within state lines, but they accommodate local players with regulated gaming software and a variety of banking options.

Best Iowa Gambling Sites

Best Iowa Gambling Sites

If you’re wondering how to find locally available real money gambling sites in Iowa, let alone one of the best ones, we’ve got the answers.

Our team of experts has been reviewing and researching online gambling sites around the world for years. It’s not a part-time hobby or a guessing game, as we take the activity seriously. After all, it’s different than walking into Prairie Meadows, the Diamond Jo, or an Isle Casino. You’re not risking and rewarded with cash, so you need even more safety, security, and transparency.

When we’re coming up with our opinions regarding the best Iowa gambling sites, it’s a lengthy and never-ending process.

We maintain directories of betting and gaming sites that cover jurisdictions around the globe. From there, though, we narrow the choices in each area to take care of the legwork for you. While it’s ultimately up to you to decide which is your favorite, our recommendations should give you an excellent place to start.

History of Iowa Gambling Laws

We don’t have a long tale to tell about Iowa’s history of gambling. That’s because gambling legislation in Iowa was fairly sparse through the 19th and most of the 20th century.

Iowa Gambling Started in 1973

Instead of racetracks popping up in the early 1900s or bingo games funding non-profits in the ‘50s and ‘60s, charity bingo emerged in 1973. Social and charitable gaming extended to raffles and some table games as well, and it was the catalyst for Iowa’s gambling expansion.

Ten years after betting came to be for fundraising purposes, the Pari-Mutuel Wagering Act was finalized and later led to simulcast betting as well. Then, in 1985, Iowa’s Lottery Act allowed for the first state lottery for players 21 and over.

Casino Games

From there, it was just a quick jump into full-blown casino gaming with riverboats, then racinos, followed by docked boats that eventually moved on land. A few tribal venues opened in 1992, and Iowa now has 19 land-based casinos. There are plenty of options and locations to accommodate residents across the state and visitors coming in from surrounding areas.

The Hawkeye State’s brick and mortar casinos include prominent venues like Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Altoona. The size rivals some Las Vegas casinos with more than 2,000 gambling machines and 44 tables.

Sportsbooks and DFS

Gambling expansion in the Hawkeye State wasn’t, and isn’t, finished as yet, though. In 2019, Iowa was amongst the first dozen US states to give the go-ahead to sportsbooks.

Sports betting was not only approved but is already active in 18 out of 19 of the casinos. Daily fantasy sports (DFS) is also now legal and regulated in IA.

New Online Gambling Opportunities in IA

What’s next? Mobile sports betting is already authorized, although the casinos are rolling the service out slowly. Players are required to sign up in person before they can roam around the state, turning in their virtual bet slips from computers and mobile devices.

DFS and mobile sportsbooks are two in-state ventures that are already on the books. Online poker rooms are also under consideration, but nothing is finalized, or even proposed as of yet.

Other Iowa Gambling Sites

As far as other Iowa online gambling sites, like casinos, offshore providers have stepped in to meet the demand. There are now quite a few that cater to IA players, and the ones that met or exceeded expectations during our review process are on our recommendation list. 

Iowans are well aware of the lottery, casinos, and other in-person gambling opportunities. However, with state-regulated DFS and sports betting, as well as gambling sites for Iowa players provided by out-of-area operators, online gambling is gaining traction.

Overview of Legal Gambling in Iowa

  • Casinos: Commercial casinos, tribal casinos, and racinos
  • Sports Betting: At 18 out of 19 casinos; mobile sports betting also approved
  • Lottery: Draw and scratch-off tickets sold at retailers throughout the state
  • Charity Gaming: Bingo, raffles, and some table games for fundraising purposes
  • Daily Fantasy Sports: Two major online providers
  • Pari-Mutuel Betting: Horse racing, including simulcasts, at racinos and OTBs
  • Online Gambling: Operators aren’t regulated in the state of Iowa, but there are other providers accepting Iowa players

Why Gamble Online in IA?

You live in a state with 19 casinos, giving you access to slots, video poker, table games, and even sports betting. So, why would you look for an Iowa online gambling site?

Fits Your Schedule

There are many reasons why real money online gambling may be preferable to land-based, at least some of the time. Your schedule is first and foremost on the list. It’s a lot easier to grab your computer or your smartphone and place a few bets or spend some time playing slots and other games.

With our long to-do lists, extended work hours, and other family and social commitments, it’s appealing to have an escape or hobby that doesn’t require a commute.

Preferences

Maybe you’re having some health or mobility issues preventing you from venturing out to the closest casino in your area. With real money gambling sites in Iowa, you aren’t left out in the cold. You can place a sports bet or participate in any of your favorite betting activities.

Gambling can be a social pursuit, but it doesn’t have to be if you prefer some peace and quiet. For some, it’s an escape from daily life, and privacy can be a good thing. You can get comfortable, put your feet up, and select from dozens, or even hundreds of betting and gaming options.

Plenty of Options

If you play slots, you’ll have a similar experience and access to as many games online as you would in a brick and mortar casino. For table games, you even have the option of sitting down to a virtual table but having an actual dealer in charge of it. You can chat with other players and still get the social aspect without leaving your house.

Smoke, or stay away from smoking. Devote five minutes or five hours at a time. Take advantage of customized online gambling bonuses or steer clear of them and keep things straightforward. Regardless of how you want to play it (or not), online gambling in Iowa or anywhere in the world offers some benefits that you can’t get in person.

Rating the Top Online Gambling Sites for Iowa

You may wonder how we’ve arrived at our list of the best online gambling sites for Iowa players, or even how we secured a list of websites open to Iowans.

Let’s take a look.

Research

It’s not as simple as searching Iowa gambling sites, as the online providers are from outside the area. Most of them allow players from other states as well, but there are exceptions. So, coming up with a directory is time-consuming, and it’s a task that’s always in progress.

As we cover online gambling around the whole world, our team of experts is always on the lookout for new sites, as well as news on existing ones. Over the years, we’ve combed through every gambling site for Iowa and everywhere else and have thoroughly examined the terms and conditions for open jurisdictions and exclusions.

Reviews and Ratings

Finding out which players can use the services, though, is just step one. All of the online casinos, sportsbooks, and poker rooms on the list are individually reviewed. We examine the banking options and turnaround times, as well as promotions, games, customer service, reputation, and reliability.

After we have an overall impression of the gambling site, we compare it to others through an internal rating system. From there, the best of the bunch is ranked and recommended. However, just because a casino, or other betting sites, makes the cut once, doesn’t mean it sticks around permanently.

We consistently revisit, re-review, and re-rank so that you have access to the current best online gambling sites for Iowa.

Recapping our IA Gambling Guide

Iowa isn’t on the conservative end of the spectrum when it comes to its legal and regulated forms of gambling. The Hawkeye State boasts 19 casinos, as well as plenty of other opportunities to play games and do some real money betting.

There’s a state lottery, charity, and social gaming, pari-mutuel wagering, daily fantasy sports, and sportsbook operations. Aside from DFS and sports betting, though, gambling is land-based with the in-state oversight.

For the majority of online gambling in Iowa, you’d turn to the out-of-area providers that allow US players to register and use the services. There are quite a few reputable and worthwhile casinos and other websites that you may want to consider. But make sure you use one of our recommended services or take time to vet your personal favorites thoroughly.

Safe, secure, and fair Iowa online gambling sites are available, but you really want to select the best of the best providers.