Gaming Laws in Iowa
Illegal gambling is defined as “participating in a game for anything of value or making any bet” in Chapter 725 of the Iowa Code with reference to Vices. Penalties vary but start with a serious misdemeanor for the first offense. Anything offered as a stake for a wager or bet shall be forfeited to the state and can be seized or disposed of, including gambling devices.
The Pari-mutuel Wagering Act became a law in 1983 to allow wagering on horse and dog racing in Iowa, and bills were later expanded to permit casino gambling on riverboats in 1989 with the first riverboat casino Sportsbook for business in 1991.
Currently, there are 21 casinos operating in the state of Iowa, three of which are tribal-owned, including the Blackbird Bend Casino, Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel and WinnaVegas Casino. These tribal casinos offer slot machines, bingo and table games like blackjack, Pai Gow, poker, craps, baccarat and roulette.
Sports Betting in Iowa
Sports betting is not allowed in the state of Iowa.
Even though there are no sportsbooks available at physical locations or online in the state of Iowa, bettors still have the opportunity to choose from many offshore options. Online sports betting sites are widely considered to be a much safer option than local Sportsbooks. In addition to having the convenience of placing bets right from a personal computer or mobile device and a variety of options, online bettors can trust reputable and well-reviewed offshore books to always offer lines and pay out, which may not always be the case for local bookies.
Poker and Casino in Iowa
The other 18 casinos in the state of Iowa are mostly located either near or on water such as one of the many riverboats. They include the recently opened Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Sioux City, which offers more than 800 slot machines. The largest casino property in Iowa is the Horseshoe Council Bluffs, with the gaming area covering 68,000 square feet and featuring more than 1,600 slots, 70 table games plus a poker room with 18 tables.
For those who do not visit the tribal and other state-licensed casinos in Iowa, including riverboats, online games may appeal to interested players who can pursue online poker websites in order to participate.
Other Gaming Options in Iowa
Betting on horse racing and dog racing is legal. In addition, raffles not exceeding more than $200 in value are permitted along with bingo, and any adult with a license can hold a game night as long as there are no considerations involved besides goodwill.
The Iowa Lottery began in 1985 with the goals of providing entertainment and prizes to players and raising billions of dollars for state programs in the process. Funds gained from the lottery have been used to promote tourism, benefit veterans, create new recreation areas, support research at the state’s public universities and develop new agricultural products. Lottery games include scratch tickets, pull tabs and popular drawings like Powerball and Mega Millions.