Iowa Online Sports Betting Guide 2024

Ready to take your first legal sports betting steps in Iowa but don’t know how to start? You’re not alone!

With the numerous sportsbooks, betting options and regulations available, it can be pretty confusing for a new bettor. However, mastering the ins and outs of Iowa sports betting can significantly improve your sports wagering experience in the state. 

In this comprehensive Iowa sports betting guide, we will walk you through the legal framework of the Iowa sports gambling market, the best sportsbook options, and the strategies to help you maximize your bets in the Hawkeye State. Let’s get started! 

🔑 Key Takeaways

  • Check out the best legal sports betting options for residents of Iowa State.
  • Choose your favorite sportsbook from our list of recommended sports betting sites.

Is Online Sports Betting Legal in Iowa?

Yes, online sports betting is legal in Iowa. The state legalized sports betting on May 13, 2019, when Governor Kim Reynolds signed SF 617 into law. 

The bill allowed for online and retail sports betting, making Iowa one of the first US states where you can bet online on sports. It also authorized the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission as the sole regulator of the market. Additionally, bettors must be at least 21 years or older to place a wager in the state. 

While Iowa supports betting on various sports, including professional and collegiate events, it prohibits prop bets on individual college athletes. 

On August 15, 2019, the first retail sportsbook, William Hill, started accepting bets in the state. Now, Iowa boasts a wide range of retail and online bookies, allowing residents and visitors to wager on their favorite teams in person and from the convenience of their mobile devices. 

Initially, you have to visit a licensed brick-and-mortar casino to sign up for an online betting account. However, since January 1, 2021, Iowa allowed remote registration, making it possible for you to sign up and bet online from anywhere within the state borders.

10 Quick Facts About Iowa’s Sports Betting Laws

  1. Iowa Law: Iowa legalized sports betting on May 3, 2019, following Governor Kim Reynolds’ approval of SF 617, which established retail and online sports betting in the state.
  2. Legal Age for Sports Betting: You must be at least 21 to bet on sports in Iowa. You will be asked to verify your identity and age while opening a sportsbook account in the state.
  3. State Borders: You can only engage in sports betting in Iowa when you are within the state borders. Operators use geolocation technology to ensure this.
  4. Retail Bookmakers: Iowa sports betting law allows licensed casinos and racetracks to operate retail sportsbooks. There are currently 18 locations offering sports betting across the state.
  5. Taxes: Iowa taxes sports betting revenue monthly at 6.75%, with a further 0.75% on tax handle.
  6. Regulation: The IRGC licenses operators and establishes rules in the state’s sports betting market.
  7. Banned Bets: Iowa prohibits player proposition wagers for individual athletes from colleges in its jurisdiction. However, it accepts general collegiate betting.
  8. Responsible Gambling: Iowa mandates its operators to implement responsible gaming measures, including self-exclusion programs and problem gambling support. 
  9. Popular Sport: Football is the most popular sport to bet on in Iowa, usually accounting for over 50% of all sports bets
  10. No Credit Cards: You can not use a credit card to deposit into your sports betting account in Iowa. The state implements this rule to reduce the risk of problem gambling. 

How to Bet on Sports in Iowa?

Occasionally, I visit Iowa for work, and whenever I am in the state, I usually place a bet or two. Having wagered several times, I can confidently tell you that betting on sports online in Iowa is straightforward.

Using my own experience, let’s go through the steps you need to follow to start your sports betting adventure in the Land of Opportunity:

  • Select a licensed bookmaker: There are over 10 sportsbooks in the state, including DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM. Before selecting a bookmaker, I researched and compared their odds, bonuses, and user experience. 
  • Sign up: When you have found your preferred option, create an account with the sportsbook. You will be asked to provide basic details like your name, date of birth, and social security number.
  • Make a Deposit: Head to the cashier section of your chosen bookmaker to deposit into your new betting account. Most Iowa sports betting sites accept popular debit cards like Visa and Mastercard. You can also pick from e-wallet options like Neteller, PayPal, and Skrill. I recommend using an e-wallet because they are faster and more convenient than traditional payment methods. Depending on the bookie you select, you will need to deposit at least $10 or $5.
  • Check Available Markets: With playing funds in your account, you can now start wagering on games. On the homepage, you will find a list of all the sports the bookie supports, such as football, basketball, or baseball. 
  • Place your Bet: Choose your preferred sport and browse the various available markets. For starters, I suggest you start with the moneyline bet since it’s the most straightforward and easiest to understand; you simply pick the winner of the game. Select your bet amount and confirm the wager.

Now, you sit back, relax, and enjoy the game; if the bet wins, the sportsbook will automatically credit your online account with the winnings. 

Top Iowa Sports Betting Sites and Apps

Iowa has a thriving online sports betting market, making it attractive to several leading sportsbook operators. The state is home to several sports betting apps, all legal and licensed by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

The most popular Iowa online sportsbooks include: DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, William Hill, Caesar’s, and more.

From the lot, here are my top three picks for Iowa, which I ranked based on several factors, including competitive odds, bonuses, user-friendly interface, and strong reputation. 


Name of BookieDraftKings
Recommended bet markets NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, college football,
Welcome offer$1500 bonus bets 
Rating 4.9/5

DraftKings tops my list of the best sportsbooks in the US for several reasons. First, the sportsbook offers a wide range of betting markets on various sports, such as football, basketball, golf, hockey, and UFC. 

The bookie also welcomes its new Iowa users with a no-sweat first bet up to $1500 + No-Sweat NBA SGP every day of the Playoffs. To claim the promo, sign up on the site and fund your account with $5 or more. Thereafter, place a wager of at least $1 on any sport. If it loses, DraftKings will give you back your initial bet amount in bonus cash up to $1500.

What’s more? DraftKings has a reward program called Dynasty Rewards, where you can earn points and unlock exclusive rewards. I have earned bonuses running into thousands of dollars from the program!


Name of BookieFanDuel
Recommended bet markets Football, baseball, basketball, golf, tennis, boxing
Welcome offerBet $5, win $150 
Rating 4.9/5

FanDuel and its partner, Diamond Jo Dubuque, have been leading the Iowa sports betting market for some time now.

This is due to the appealing features of the FanDuel Sportsbook app, including a mobile-friendly user interface, and various sports betting options. In addition to its comprehensive betting markets, you can access other tools like live betting and cash-out. 

The sportsbook also has plenty of weekly bonuses, starting with a generous welcome offer. The last time I checked, the bookie was offering a bet $5, win $150 in bonus cash offer. Simply sign up, deposit at least $10, and bet $5 on any market of your choice. If you win, you will receive $150 in bonus bets. 


Name of BookieCaesars
Recommended bet markets Football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, tennis
Welcome offer$1000 bonus bet
Rating 4.8//5

Caesars Sportsbook is another top-notch mobile sportsbook in Iowa. The app has thousands of markets for every sport you can think of, including soccer, tennis, darts, rugby, and snooker. It also features a Quick Pick feature, daily odds boosts, and several other features to make your sports betting experience enjoyable.

Caesars presents a generous welcome offer to its new bettors, where you can get up to $1,000 in bonus bets. After signing up on the platform, deposit at least $10 using the promo code SBRBONUS1000. Make an initial bet of $1 or more on any market; if the wager loses, you will receive bonus cash equal to your lost amount.

Popular Sports and Teams in Iowa Betting Scene

Iowa has no professional major league sports teams. However, the state is home to four major college teams playing in the NCAA Division for all sports. These teams are highly followed in Iowa and account for a large percentage of the betting action in the state.

Sports Teams NameDescription
– Football
– Basketball
– Baseball
– Wrestling   – Volleyball
Iowa Hawkeyes (University of Iowa)Located in Iowa city, the Hawkeyes are a powerhouse in the Big Ten Conference and NCAA Division 1. They have passionate fans across various sports who often back them with their sports bets. 
– Football
– Basketball – Wrestling
Iowa State Cyclones (Iowa State University) A member of the Big 12 Conference, the men’s and women’s Cyclones have a reputation for exciting games and upsets.
– FootballNorthern Iowa Panthers The Panthers compete in the NCAA Division 1 Football Championship Subdivsion and are a member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC). 
– BaseballIowa Cubs A Minor League Baseball team in the International League, the Cubs have a loyal fan base in the state. 
– Ice Hockey Iowa WildThe Wolves play their home games at the Wells Fargo Arena and compete in the Western Conference of the NBA G league.
– BasketballIowa WolvesThe Wolves play their home games at the Wells Fargo Arena and competes in the Western Conference of the NBA G league.
– Auto RacingIowa Speedway, Knoxville RacewayThe Speedway and Knoxville Raceway host auto racing championships all year long such as the IndyCar series and Knoxville Nationals. 

The Impact of Local Teams on Sports Betting

Despite having no teams in the top-tier leagues, sports is still a vital aspect of Iowa’s culture. According to the Des Moines Register:

76% of Iowans consider themselves sports fans, with 60% of these folks regarding themselves as Iowa State Cyclones or Iowa Hawkeyes fans. 

Iowans have all the love to give to their local teams, and most of the time, this passion and dedication influence their sports betting wagers:

  • Lots of bets during team plays: When these teams play, especially in high-stakes matches like bowl games or rival matchups like the Iowa Corn CY-Hawk Series, there is usually a surge in betting volume.
  • Sports betting activity in Iowa aligns with local teams’ schedules: During the fall and winter months, which coincide with the college football and basketball seasons, betting action increases significantly. In contrast, the summer months, when local events are scarce, see a notable decrease in betting activity. 
  • On & off teams’ metrics & situations directly impact the betting decisions: Furthermore, on-field and off-field developments in the teams, such as coaching changes, injuries, player transfers, and suspensions, frequently impact the wagering decisions of the state bettors.

For instance: When star quarterback Spencer Petras suffered an injury during the 2022 season, the Hawkeyes’ betting odds for their next game against Michigan dropped. 

Upcoming Events

Don’t miss the latest and most exciting Iowa sports events as they unfold. Find shortly a list of the upcoming matches featuring Iowa teams, including the Hawkeyes, Cyclones, and Panthers. Get ready to cheer your favorite teams and make informed decisions as you wager on them.

Are There More Gambling Options in Iowa?

Seeking an alternative to sports betting, Iowa has the right set of options. The state offers a diverse range of legal gambling activities that can give you new ways to win. Let’s look at them below:

  • Casino: Iowa has more than 20 land-based casinos where you can play popular casino games like slot machines, video poker, and table games like blackjack and roulette. I highly recommend checking out the Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Altoona, the Horseshoe Casino, and the Grand Falls Casino & Resort.
  • Poker: You can also enjoy poker at Iowa casinos. Participate in live poker games, tournaments, and cash games across variations like Texas Hold’em and Omaha.
  • Horse Racing: Wager on live and simulcast horse races at the Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino and other licensed establishments in the state.
  • Lottery: Iowa has a state lottery with various games, including Powerball, Mega Millions, and scratch-off tickets. You can purchase your lottery tickets online or at retailers in the state.

Maximizing Your Bets

Now that you know how to place your first sports bet in Iowa, you need to consider maximizing your wagers to have a rewarding betting experience. This involves adopting effective strategies and practices to optimize your betting decisions. Allow me to share with you my best tips and some expert strategies!

Tips and Strategies for Iowa Bettors

  • Compare lines at different sportsbooks: Shopping for the best lines and odds has consistently helped me get the most value from my bets. It involves comparing odds at different Iowa sportsbooks to find the most favorable ones. By doing so, you can increase your potential winnings.
    For example: If you are betting on the Iowa Cyclones to win, you may find that one bookie offers +150 odds while another offers +160 for the same market.
  • Manage your Bankroll: Irrespective of where you are wagering, one tip that can never go out by of style is having a budget. There are many available markets at Iowa sportsbooks, and setting a budget helps ensure you don’t overspend. Stick to your budget; don’t chase losses or be carried away by winning streaks.
  • Hedge your bets: Another way to maximize your betting returns in Iowa is to diversify your betting portfolio. You can do this by placing multiple bets on the same event at different sportsbooks.

For instance: Let’s say you have a strong feeling about the Hawkeyes beating the Buckeyes, so you put down a sizeable wager on Iowa to win. But then, you consider that Ohio just signed a serious talent, so you decide to ‘cover your base’ by placing a smaller bet on the Buckeyes to win.

Your second wager might even be on the point spread. If Iowa wins, you will cash in on the bigger bet. However, if Ohio pulls off the upset, you can still recoup some of your losses with the smaller hedge bet.

Understanding Taxes and Payouts

You are expected to pay taxes on any financial activity in the US, and sports betting is no exception. Your sports wagering returns are considered taxable income, and as such, the federal government and the state of Iowa want a share of your haul.

While Iowa does not require you to report winnings below $600, you may still need to file them on your federal tax return. The IRS mandates reporting all gambling winnings, regardless of the amount.

  • For winnings of $600 and more, the sportsbook will send you the IRS Form W-2G, which shows your winnings and any federal income tax withheld.
  • If your winnings are $5000 and above, the bookie may withhold up to 24% of the amount for federal income tax. Up to 5% will also be withheld for Iowa state taxes. 

A pro tip here: Always record each wagering transaction, including the date, amount wagered, and any wins or losses. You don’t know when you will need it. 

Understanding these tax implications is crucial, so I recommend reading more about how taxes work on sports betting winnings.

What About Physical Sports Betting Locations?

While online sportsbooks are convenient, there’s nothing like the atmosphere of a retail sportsbook. Imagine cheering for your favorite team on a massive screen, surrounded by fellow fans.

Iowa sports bettors have plenty of options for in-person betting at casinos and racetracks across the state. Here are my top three:

  1. Diamond Jo Worth: Located in Worth County and partnered with FanDuel, this sportsbook features a massive LED video wall, self-service kiosks, a full-service bar, and a variety of betting options.
  2. Wild Rose Jefferson: Powered by DraftKings, this sportsbook offers 28 HDTVs and a 200-inch HD projector. You can bet on all DraftKings-supported markets, including parimutuel simulcast off-track betting.
  3. Prairie Meadows: In Altoona, this Caesars-partnered sportsbook offers live betting on horse racing and other sports. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., it also offers benefits through the Caesars Rewards Club.

Other notable sportsbooks in Iowa include:

  • Harrah’s Council Bluffs: Partnered with Caesars Sportsbook.
  • Hard Rock Sioux City: Powered by Hard Rock Sportsbook.
  • Isle Bettendorf: Partnered with Caesars Sportsbook.
    Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo: Full-service betting with Caesars.
  • Lakeside Hotel Casino: In Osceola, featuring a large viewing center powered by DRF Sportsbook.

These locations provide some of the best sports betting experiences in Iowa, combining the excitement of professional sports with the thrill of betting in person. The sports betting handle in these venues is a testament to their popularity among local bettors.

So, Will You Bet from Iowa Tonight?

From online sports betting apps to gigantic retail sportsbooks, Iowa has everything you need to have an enjoyable sports wagering experience. 

As long as you are 21 years or older, you can easily sign up and place a legal wager on your favorite team in the Hawkeyes State. Choose your preferred Iowa sportsbook and start betting for real money today. Don’t forget to bet responsibly and wisely. And may the odds be in your favor!

Curious about other US states with similar sports betting offers? Read this Indiana online sports betting guide now.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best Iowa sports betting sites for new users?

The best Iowa sports betting sites for new users include FanDuel, DraftKings, and Caesars. These platforms offer competitive sportsbook promos, user-friendly interfaces, and different betting options to help beginners get started.

Can I use a mobile sports betting app in Iowa?

Yes, you can use a mobile app for sports betting in Iowa. Many top Iowa sports betting apps, such as the DraftKings and FanDuel apps, offer convenient features for placing bets, accessing promotions, and managing your account on the go. These mobile betting apps are designed to give Iowan bettors an easy navigation and real-time updates.

Is it legal to bet on college sports in Iowa?

Yes, it is legal to bet on college sports in Iowa. The state allows wagers on collegiate events, including those involving Iowa-based teams. However, there are some restrictions, such as prohibiting prop bets on individual college athletes. Be sure to review the specific rules of each online sportsbook Iowa offers to understand their policies on college sports betting.

When did legal Iowa sports betting launch?

The launch in Iowa dates from August 15, 201. This marked the beginning of regulated sports betting in the state, allowing residents to place bets both in-person and online. The launch in Iowa has since paved the way for a thriving sports betting industry, including the development of several top Iowa sports betting apps and sites.

Can I participate in daily fantasy sports in Iowa?

Yes, daily fantasy sports are legal and available in Iowa. Major platforms like DraftKings and FanDuel offer daily fantasy sports contests for Iowa users. These contests provide a fun and competitive alternative to traditional sports betting.