History of Online Gambling in Iowa

The Iowa Gaming Association (IGA) encouraged sports betting legislation as early as 2017. Although a federal ban (PASPA) still existed on sports gambling at the time, the IGA felt that the ban would soon disappear.

Its prediction came true when the Supreme Court struck down PASPA in May 2018. Iowa moved forth with betting legislation shortly after.

House Study Bill 592 (HSB 592) sought to legalize retail and online sports betting. However, it failed to gain the necessary votes to pass.

Lawmakers quickly came back with another attempt in 2019. Senate File 617 (SF 617), which included slight modifications, achieved approval in the State House and Senate in May 2019.

The bill moved to Gov. Kim Reynolds’ desk. Reynolds gave her signature on SF 617 and officially made online and retail sports gambling legal in Iowa.

The Hawkeye State approved daily fantasy sports (DFS) that same year. This DFS bill paved the way for DraftKings and FanDuel to offer legal games to Iowans.

Iowa Online Sports Betting

Iowa launched retail and online sports betting just months after SF 617 gained approval in May 2019. SF 617 contains the following provisions:

  • All sports bettors must be at least 21 years old.
  • Gamblers must register for online betting in person until Jan. 1, 2021.
  • The Iowa and Racing Gaming Commission (IRCG) regulates the betting industry.
  • Operators must pay a $45,000 license fee and a $10,000 renewal fee.
  • Each license holder can operate two skins.
  • Sportsbooks also need to cover a 6.75% tax rate on sports gambling revenue.
  • College sports betting is allowed; however, prop bets on in-state teams are illegal.

The Hawkeye State features one of the lowest licensing renewal fees ($10k) and tax rates (6.75%) anywhere. It has already attracted a large number of online sportsbooks relative to its 3.16 million population.

Available IA internet bookmakers include:

  • Betfred
  • DraftKings
  • Elite Sportsbook
  • FanDuel
  • Hard Rock
  • PointsBet
  • Q Sportsbook
  • William Hill

Most of these betting sites offer generous bonuses. For example, DraftKings’ welcome package includes a $25 no-deposit bonus, up to a $500 deposit bonus, and up to a $500 risk-free bet. You only need to use our link to qualify.

PointsBet provides new customers with $250 in free bets. You can obtain this bonus by entering the code “BONUSNOW.”

Iowa Online Casinos

Iowa lawmakers introduced legislation to legalize online casinos and poker in 2012 and 2013. The first attempt passed the State Senate but failed to pass the House.

The second effort didn’t even advance past the Senate. No serious attempt has been made at legalizing real-money Iowa online casinos since.

However, sweepstakes casinos are legal in the Hawkeye State. These sites feature online casino games and sweepstakes entries.

Chumba Casino and LuckyLand Slots are Iowa’s most popular sweepstakes gaming sites. They offer a solid mixture of online slots and table games.

Iowa Poker Sites

As mentioned, all attempts to pass online poker legislation have failed. Real-money internet poker doesn’t seem likely to become legal in Iowa any time soon.

The lack of online poker is surprising, considering how popular the game is in the Hawkeye State. Iowa features nine land-based poker rooms, including the famed Horseshoe Council Bluffs.

For now, Global Poker is the only legal online option. It’s a sweepstakes poker site that operates similarly to Chumba Casino and LuckyLand Slots.

Iowa Daily Fantasy Sports

Iowa legalized daily fantasy sports in 2019. This regulation cleared any legal questions regarding daily fantasy’s presence in the Hawkeye State. 

It also lets industry juggernauts FanDuel and DraftKings legally serve Iowa. DraftKings and FanDuel are the only sites that draw any serious DFS traffic in the state.

Iowa Online Gambling Apps

This state features a strange rule regarding gambling apps. You must first download an app and visit a relevant land-based casino to register.

Iowa included this unique stipulation in its sports betting legislation. In-person registration will last until Jan. 1, 2021.

Other than the in-person signup requirement, Iowa online gambling apps are similar to those in other markets. If you haven’t downloaded Android or iOS betting apps, though, you should know that the processes vary.

Downloading an IA Android gambling app

Here are the instructions for obtaining an Android app:

  1. Visit an Iowa online gambling site.
  2. Select the Android icon on the homepage.
  3. Follow the download instructions.

Google Play doesn’t feature real-money gambling apps in its store. Its policy means that you must download the app directly from the gambling site.

Downloading an IA iOS gambling app

Here are the instructions for obtaining an iOS app:

  1. Visit the App Store.
  2. Search for the Iowa gambling app you want.
  3. Download the app.

Unlike Google, Apple provides real-money gambling apps. Therefore, you complete downloads in the App Store rather than through a website.

How to Deposit at Iowa online Gambling Sites

Again, you must visit an IA land-based casino to complete registration. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to use online or in-person deposit options.

Deposit Methods

  • Bank transfer (ACH): You send funds from your bank account to an IA gambling site.
  • Cash at the cage: Drive to the nearest Iowa casino and fund your account in person.
  • E-wallet: Middlemen like PayPal and Skrill let you make simple online deposits at gambling sites.
  • PayNearMe: Visit a local 7-Eleven and deposit in person with cash.
  • Prepaid card: Iowa gambling sites issue Play+ cards for deposit purposes.
  • Visa, Mastercard: Fund your account instantly and easily with these famous credit card brands.

Withdrawal Methods

  • Bank transfer (ACH): Transfer winnings back to your bank account.
  • Cash at the cage: Get your winnings instantly at the nearest land-based casino.
  • E-wallet: Skrill and PayPal offer the quickest online payouts.
  • Paper check: Although slow (10-14 days), paper checks are a reliable cashout option.
  • Prepaid card: These branded cards also work for withdrawals.

Some banking methods must be used for deposits and cashouts. For example, if you deposit with ACH, you’ll need to withdraw funds the same way.

Online Gambling Bonuses in Iowa

You can take advantage of several bonus offers throughout the IA internet gambling industry. The following bonuses are available at online sportsbooks, DFS sites, and/or sweepstakes casinos.

No-deposit Bonus

Some gambling sites reward you just for completing registration by giving you a no-deposit bonus. You can earn free money from these offers after satisfying terms and conditions.

Here’s an example:

  • An Iowa gambling site gives you a $25 no-deposit bonus.
  • Rollover is 10x.
  • You must wager 25 x 10 = $250.
  • You get to keep whatever is left from the bonus, plus any winnings, after betting $250.

Match-deposit Bonus

This offer matches your deposit up to a specified amount. You get to cash out these bonuses in a lump sum after meeting T&Cs.

Here’s an example:

  • A gambling site offers a 100% match-deposit bonus up to $500.
  • You deposit $200 and qualify for a $200 bonus.
  • Rollover is 20x.
  • You must wager 200 x 20 = $4,000.
  • You can cash out the $200 after betting $4k in total.

Risk-free Bet

A bookmaker gives you a “free” wager upfront. If you lose the first bet, you can earn money back.

Here’s an example:

  • An IA online sportsbook offers a risk-free bet that matches your deposit amount.
  • You deposit $100 and, thus, qualify for a $100 wager.
  • You bet $100 and lose.
  • Rollover is 10x.
  • You must wager 100 x 10 = $1,000.
  • You get the $100 back after betting $1k in total.

Free Coins

Sweepstakes casinos and poker sites offer free coins as promotions. For example, Chumba Casino provides two Sweeps Coins as a no-deposit bonus.

Loyalty Program

You can accumulate VIP rewards through your gambling activity. For example, an online sportsbook might offer you a free bet after you’ve wagered enough.

FAQ on Iowa Online Gambling

Is online gambling legal in Iowa?

Yes. Iowa features legal online sports betting, sweepstakes sites, and DFS sites.

Do I have to live in Iowa to gamble online?

No. You can gamble online as a resident or visitor to Iowa. You need to be 21 years of age and not on a self-exclusion list to qualify.
Gambling sites use geolocation software to determine your location. Provided you’re anywhere within Iowa, and you should experience no trouble placing bets.

Are Iowa gambling winnings taxed?

Yes. You must cover a 5% state income tax on gambling winnings. Of course, you also need to pay the 24% federal tax.

Iowa’s gambling tax applies even if you don’t live in the Hawkeye State. If you travel across the border and gamble online, for example, you’ll need to pay a 5% tax to Iowa if you win money.

Is Iowa online gambling safe?

Yes. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission regulates the internet sports betting and DFS industries. The IRGC thoroughly examines license applications to choose quality operators. It also maintains strong protections for problem gamblers. 

What’s the legal online gambling age in Iowa?

You must be 21 or older to make online sports bets or play DFS in the Hawkeye State.