The Best Iowa Sportsbook Apps
Iowa was one of the first 11 states to open up sports betting operations after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the federal government did not have the constitutional right to curtail the states from making their own decision on sports gambling.
The Iowa Gaming and Racing Commission (IGRC) was ready to write regulations and impart what stipulations were necessary for all aspects of sports betting. It took legislators one year to iron out their differences on what a new sports betting law would look like for Iowans. Once the governor officially signed the law, the IGRC began working on the nuances of sports betting.
The IGRC was concerned about various aspects, especially those related to how odds were derived and how bettor's financial transactions would be handled. We'll start by exploring the timeline for sports betting in Iowa and then take a look at the best sportsbook apps currently active.
Iowa Sports Betting History
Iowa banned all forms of gambling beginning prior to the Civil War. Laws were enacted that made it illegal to gamble in any fashion in 1846. Gambling remained against the law for more than a century.
Ironically, it was a church picnic that started the shift in sentiment. At the North Buena Vista function, visitors could take part in a number of games of chance. The picnic was raided. The local priest of the Parrish was arrested.
1971 marked the 40th consecutive year for the picnic, much of the revenue from the games going to charity. The event was the driving force behind changes in Iowa's gambling laws.
Eventually, Iowa lawmakers consented to allow games other than bingo and friendly poker rounds. They allowed for casinos and pari-mutuel betting in 2000. There would be a change coming at the federal level that would affect gambling in Iowa even more than of the previous changes.
Iowa's lawmakers had tentatively discussed what steps they would take if the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the ruling banning sports gambling across the nation. That event finally happened in May 2018.
Just shy of one year after the landmark Supreme Court decision, Iowa's legislators sent Bill 617 to Governor Kim Reynolds. The legislation was signed into effect in May 2019. Iowa's sports betting laws allow for professional and college betting.
The IGRC worked swiftly to put into place the necessary safeguards for revenue control and user security. Within three months, Iowa's sportsbook operations were ready for the new NFL and NCAA football seasons.
Much of the Iowa focus targeted the college openers since the state doesn't have a professional franchise. Retail sportsbook license authorizations were issued to allow for seven individual brick-and-mortar sportsbooks.
Having started one week after the official signature was inked on the new law, the IGRC was ready to announce how the process would work for prospective industry stakeholders. William Hill generated four of the original authorizations.
The global betting leader was set to coordinate sportsbook operations at Prairie Meadows, Lakeside Casino, Isle Waterloo and Isle Bettendorf. After issuing sports betting control measures in three phases, the IGRC had regulations in place to address mobile operations, account registrations and problem gambling issues.
Iowa Sportsbook Apps
Online sportsbook apps were approved for launch in August 2019. Williams Hill was primed to be a leader in Iowa because of their early attachment to four physical locations. This was critical in Williams Hill's surge to grab an enormous share of the Iowa sports betting market.
By the end of February 2020, there were a total of six individual sportsbook apps approved by the IGRC. The Hard Rock Sioux City Sportsbook, the Q Casino sportsbook and the Elite Sportsbook app are all specific apps attached to each brick-and-mortar location.
That leaves three dedicated online sports betting app leaders prime to battle for the top-spot for online sports betting in Iowa. Let's take a look at the three current sportsbook app operations that have launched.
Williams Hill Sportsbook App Iowa
Williams Hill was the first sportsbook app to launch in Iowa. They secured partnerships with four physical casino locations. This was critical since Iowa sports betting laws prohibit registering for an online account outside of the physical venue where the mobile app has a license.
This law will change in January 2021, but it gave Williams Hill a huge head start of securing customers in Iowa. By being in possession of four physical sportsbook partnerships, Williams Hill had a tremendous advantage for securing new customers.
The four physical casinos where Williams Hill operates the sportsbook are at the Isle Bettendorf, the Isle Waterloo, Prairie Meadows and the Lakeside Casino. Williams Hill experience with horse race betting made the Prairie Meadows location a perfect fit.
Williams Hill is earning its reputation as America's number one sportsbook. They have some of the more unique individual promotions in the sportsbook industry. NBA bettors will enjoy getting an extra $1 deposited into their account for every point a player they bet on goes over 20 points.
There are ways to back up your MLB bets with a Big Blast Boost and Bullpen Bucks. These ongoing special promotions are a way to soften the disappointment in Williams Hill's smaller welcome bonus for new customers. Williams Hill will match a first deposit up to $150.
While this isn't one of the larger welcome packages, other regular promotions can actually add up to more money. To gain access to the $150 matching deposit bonus, all players need to do is play through their initial deposit one time.
Williams Hill was the first sportsbook app to launch in Iowa. They have been at the top of the revenue board since they accepted their first Iowa bet. Having four physical locations to secure new accounts has certainly proven a valuable asset.
DraftKings Sportsbook App Iowa
DraftKings is the most recent sportsbook app to launch in Iowa. As one of the leading sportsbook apps in the industry, they had high expectations after their official launch in February 2020.
However, unforeseen circumstances have drastically limited the early numbers for new DraftKings Sportsbook App registration. One advantage DraftKings does have over the other active sportsbook apps in Iowa is the inclusion of fantasy sports in the legislation.
While the two accounts must be kept separate, it still provides DraftKings with an open voice to all the DFS customers they can register. Registering for a daily fantasy sports account with DraftKings is not restricted by the current Iowa sports betting rules.
DraftKings is offering new accounts up to $1,000 in free sign-up money. There is a $500 risk-free first bet for all new accounts. DraftKings will also match an initial deposit up to $500 as well.
Iowa sports bettors can also take advantage of a promo code offer to get another $25 free with no requirements. Until the end of the year, all new DraftKings Sportsbook App accounts must be completed at one of the three Wild Rose Casinos.
Once the registration is completed, bettors can fund their DraftKings accounts and place bets from anywhere in the state. After the first of the year, anyone will be able to enter Iowa and legally register and bet using the DraftKings Sportsbook App.
PointsBet Sportsbook App Iowa
Iowa sports bettors have access to one of the more unique online sports betting platforms in the industry. PointsBet offers a number of interesting betting lines and variations on the standard points spread wagers.
PointsBet opened as the sportsbook operator for betting at the Catfish Bend Casino in Burlington. They began in-house sports betting in August 2019. Now, new PointsBet accounts can be established at the casino, and then bets made anywhere in the state.
PointsBet posts a different set of odds for individual games. Many times these are high-risk types of bets, but they pay off much higher than standard lines. It gives bettors a chance to play more than the traditional odds and prove how correct their betting judgment is.
To help new bettors get the feel for the unique PointsBet platform, they are offering new accounts a pair of risk-free bet options. Bettors will receive up to a $500 refund on their first standard wager-type bet.
This $500 risk-free first bet applies to the standard posted odds. They also offer another $500 risk-free first bet for any of the enticing variable high-risk bets. All total, new PointsBet accounts can receive up to $1,000 in bet refunds.
The Australian-based sportsbook operation is beginning to fashion itself as a popular option for sports bettors across the United States. Their presence in Iowa will only further support this appeal. As they work out the details in other states, the PointsBet performance in Iowa will help improve their standing.
Iowa Sportsbook Apps on the Horizon
The prominent name missing from the current sportsbook app operators in Iowa is FanDuel. There is also some indication that FoxBet will make a push to bring their popular online sports betting platform to Iowa.
One of the key factors that point to FanDuel having strong odds of gaining access is the part of the May 2019 legislation that also permitted daily fantasy sports in the state. Now, with an open opportunity to add DFS customers, Iowa should be able to make a strong case for a mobile sportsbook license.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can you bet using an online sportsbook app in Iowa?
- Can bettors use offshore online sportsbook apps legally from Iowa?
- Is betting on horse racing legal in Iowa?
- Can you bet on the DraftKings Sportsbook App in Iowa?
- Is the FanDuel Sportsbook App available in Iowa?
- What is the tax rate and licensing fee for Iowa sports betting?
- Can residents from other states register for a sportsbook account and bet in Iowa?
Yes, you can bet using one of the active sportsbook apps in Iowa. However, until January 2020, all new registrations must be completed at one of the affiliated physical sportsbook locations. Once the registration process is completed at a physical location, bets can be placed anywhere in the state.
Offshore sportsbook operations will allow Iowa residents to register for accounts and place bets. However, despite a low probability of being actually prosecuted, sports' betting using an offshore account in Iowa violates state and federal laws. Offshore sportsbooks are illegal in Iowa.
One of the reasons that the IGRC was ready to establish guidelines and regulations for sports betting, was the presence of horse race betting in the state. There is one live track at Prairie Meadows. Both the Q Casino and the Wild Rose Casino have established off-track betting facilities.
DraftKings was the most recent sportsbook app to launch in Iowa. Effective in February 2020, DraftKings began taking bets from register Iowa DraftKings accounts. Potential new accounts must visit one of three physical Wild Rose Casino locations to set up their Iowa DraftKings Sportsbook App account.
The FanDuel Sportsbook App has yet to launch in Iowa. However, in other states they experienced tremendous success. FanDuel also has a retail sportsbook partnership at the Diamond Jo Casino. The launch of the FanDuel Sportsbook App in Iowa appears inevitable.
Each casino can register for one physical sportsbook license and two sportsbook app licenses. The fee for each license is $45,000. On top of the licensing fees, Bill 617 requires each sportsbook operation to pay 6.75 percent on all revenue generated.
Bill 617 does not specifically specify that only Iowa residents can secure an online sportsbook app account. Bettors from other states can come to Iowa, visit one of the licensed physical sportsbook venues, and legally register for an online account. They must be in Iowa, however, to bet.