Iowa sports betting is legal and widely available. Most of the state’s 19 casinos operate retail sportsbooks, and bettors have more than 15 online sports betting apps at their disposal. IA sports betting law required in-person registration at launch, but the provision phased out on January 1st, 2021. Now, anyone 21 or older can visit Iowa online sportsbooks to place wagers from anywhere within state lines. Sports betting isn’t the only form of legal online gambling in Iowa. The state also regulates online horse racing betting and daily fantasy sports. In addition, Iowa law requires operators to hold appropriate licenses and conform to various consumer protection regulations for all three forms of online betting.

State of Iowa Sports Betting Overview

Iowa sports betting has been live for over four years now. Online betting launched in May of 2019, with physical sportsbooks expanding shortly afterward in August 2019. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission oversees the state’s online sports betting market.

As long as you’re located in Iowa and are 21 years of age or older, you can sign up for a sports betting platform and place wagers on pro sports, college sporting events, and various international sports. While there are no professional sports teams located in Iowa, its neighbor, Illinois, is home to some of sports’ most iconic teams. The University of Iowa and Iowa State University football teams have proven popular bets among Iowans. The area is home to all the major sportsbooks.

State of Iowa Sports Betting Timeline

The wheels were in motion in 2018 to legalize sports betting in Iowa pending a change at the federal level. Despite that happening, the year ended without the state taking action.

The debate carried over into 2019. Gov. Kim Reynolds signed off on legal sports betting in May. The goal was for sportsbooks to be live before the NFL and college football seasons.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission helped to expedite the process, and retail and online betting launched in August. Here are some of the key yearly events from before and after legalization.

2018: Efforts to legalize sports betting gain further traction after a US Supreme Court ruling in May 2018, but the year closes without substantive progress.

2019: Iowa’s governor signs sports betting into law in May 2019. From there, it’s a quick turnaround to the launch of retail and online betting in August, just in time for the start of the NFL, NBA, and NHL seasons and the MLB postseason.

2020: Monthly sports betting handle in the state eclipses the nine-figure mark for the first time in December, with a combined $104 million in wagers in Iowa. The year ends with more than $500 million in total bets.

2021: The in-person registration requirement expires at the start of the year, changing the game in the state. As such, Iowa sets a new all-time handle record of $287 million in November, for a total of $2 billion in bets for the year.

2022: An attempt to legalize esports betting in Iowa passes the House in March (HF 2497). Later in July, theScore Bet stopped service in Iowa, announcing it had stopped all US sports betting operations. Expanded sports betting, including betting on drafts and league awards, goes into effect on July 1.

2023: Blackbird Bend Casino begins offering in-person sports betting at its facility. It is the first casino on tribal land to offer in-person sports betting in the state.

Dec. 20, 2023 — Iowa sports betting revenue fell to $14.1 million in November, down 41% from October. 

Dec. 13, 2023 — Iowa sports betting handle rose to $289.6 million in November, a 13% increase from October and 17% increase year-over-year.

Nov. 17, 2023 — Iowa sports betting handle hit $255.2 in October, a 3.8% increase from September and a 6.9% increase year-over-year.

Nov. 14, 2023 — ESPN Bet is now live in Iowa, replacing Barstool Sportsbook. ESPN is now live in 17 states.

Nov. 7, 2023 — Hard Rock Bet announced that it is exiting Iowa. The final day of wagering will be Nov. 28, the last day to withdraw will be Dec. 27, and the app will shut down entirely on Dec. 28.

Nov. 2, 2023 — PENN Entertainment announced that ESPN Bet will take over for Barstool Sportsbook in 17 states, including Iowa, on Nov. 14.

Oct. 11, 2023 — Iowa sports betting handle rose to $245.7 million in September, a 74% increase from August. That total was a state record for September and a 22.7% increase year-over-year.