Iowa Online Sports Betting – News and Updates on Sports Betting Legislation

Pledge Your Support for Online Sports Betting in Iowa!

Governor Kim Reynolds has put her signature on a historic bill, officially legalizing online sports betting in Iowa.

Let the Governor and legislators know that you fully support their decision to bring legal online sports betting to Iowa.


Iowa was one of the many states that looked into sports betting in early 2018 in anticipation of a United States Supreme Court case that could possibly overturn a 30 year old ban on sports betting in states not named Nevada. In May 2018, sports betting fans got their wish when PASPA was overturned, essentially opening the flood gates for legal and regulated sports betting in the United States. New Jersey was the first state to launch sports betting followed by 6 other states including Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Attempts in 2018 to bring sports betting to Iowa failed despite getting very close. In 2019, legislation moved quickly. SF 617 passed the State Senate and the House in mid April 2019, and on May 13th, 2019, one day before the anniversary of PASPA being struck down, Governor Kim Reynolds has signed the bill, officially making sports betting legal in the Hawkeye State.

Iowa Sports Betting Legislative Landscape

In anticipation of PASPA going down, Republican Jake Highfill filed House Bill 2448 in February 2018. This bill laid the ground work for future legislation but lacked any hard details on tax revenue and regulatory groundwork. The bill permitted sports betting in the state’s 19 casinos and horse racing tracks. HB 2448 failed to gain any traction in 2018 and died at the end of the legislative year.

In 2019, Rep Bobby Kaufman and Sen. Roby Smith introduced SF 617 and HF 648 that would legalize sports betting in Iowa. SF 617 passed the Senate on April 18, 2019 and was sent to the House. In the House, there was a contentious 90 minute debate where the hot topics were where data would come from and some accused Kauffman of rushing the bill. Eventually cooler heads prevailed and the bill passed the House on April 22, 2019 by a vote of 67-31. In February Gov. Reynolds said that sports betting “needs to be regulated.” Reynolds has stayed true to her word and signed the bill, officially making it law.

What Sports Betting in Iowa look like under SF617?

  • Betting will take place in Iowas 19 casinos.
  • Mobile and online betting will start shortly after Casinos are up and running.
  • In person registration required until January 1, 2021
  • SF 617 calls for a $45,000 initial licensing fee and a $10,000 annual renewal fee.
  • A ban on Ingame betting on Iowa collegiate games.
  • State tax rate of 6.75% on gross gaming revenue.
  • The bill also legalizes and regulates Daily Fantasy Sports but adds a delayed implementation of NCAA DFS until May 1, 2020.
  • Official league data is not mandated
  • Sports betting will be regulated by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commision
  • No fees to be paid to pro leagues
  • Tax revenue will go to the General Fund and Sports Wagering Receipts Fund

PASPA

In May 2018, the United States Supreme Court decided that PASPA, a 30 year old law that outlawed sports betting outside of Nevada, was unconstitutional. This decisions left the power to the states to decide of they would like to offer sports betting. Since this decision, ten states have passed legislation legalizing sports betting within their borders.

Iowa’s Betting History

Dating back to 1846 until 1972, all forms of gambling were illegal in Iowa. This all changed when the State Constitution was amended to repeal the article that stated “No lottery shall be authorized by this state not shall the sale of lottery tickets be allowed.” Before the repeal, the laws were so strict that the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that by the word of the Constitution, even a pinball machine that awards an extra ball was an illegal gambling device. They ruled that the term “Lottery” is often used to define a form of gambling and the general legal term for gambling is “a chance for a prize for a price.”

When Representative Lloyd F. Schmeiser was asked in 1972 if bingo for seniors was illegal, he responded with a resounding yes. This started the ball rolling on the repeal of the lottery ban and was fully repealed in 1972. In 1973, the General Assembly began authorizing games of chance, including bingo and raffles by approved organizations.

In 1983, horse and dog track racing were authorized in the state at three locations with tax revenue going towards public works and education. In 1985, the Iowa state lottery began, later offering interstate games like MegaMillions and PowerBall in 1991.

Adding MegaMillions and PowerBall were just part of a larger gambling expansion package that included authorizing two Riverboat Casinos. In 1994, two more Riverboat casinos were added along with three land based casinos. Since then, the number of casinos and racinos have grown to 17 and bring the state over $288 million in annual tax revenue.

Iowa has previously taken interest in legalizing and regulating online gambling. Attempts in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 all failed to pass, but it seems inevitable that online gambling will eventually come to Iowa. Successful online sports betting may help ease any concerns that legislature may have and help move Iowa into the short list of states with legal, regulated online poker and casinos.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is sports betting legal in Iowa?

Yes! Governor Reynolds signed the bill into law on May 13, 2019.

Where will I be able to place sports bets in Iowa?

At any of the states 19 casinos, on your mobile device or on your computer.

What types of bets will I be able to place?

All major bet types including but not limited to moneyline bets, spread bets, totals (Over/under) prop bets and parlays except NCAA in game bets and NCAA in state prop bets.

Is Daily Fantasy Sports legal?

Yes. This historic law also legalized Daily Fantasy Sports. One exception will be there will be no NCAA DFS until May 1st, 2020.

When will I be able to place my first sports bet?

If all goes well, we expect a mid to late 2019 launch of sports betting in Iowa.

Will I be able to sign up for a mobile account online?

No. You will need to visit the casino or racino in order to activate an online sports betting account before January 1, 2021. After January 1, 2021 you will be able to take care of registration online.

(Top Photo: Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports)

About the Author

  • Ryan Gutzler (rgutzler)

  • Ryan is a former two sport collegiate athlete who now relives the glory days through men’s leagues, coaching and of course, writing about sports. He is also a poker player, sports bettor and avid Sixers, Phillies, Flyers and Duke homer.