Online Gambling in Iowa in 2024
When it comes to online wagering in Iowa, sports bettors are in great shape. There are many online sportsbooks available with your favorite teams and markets for betting.
But when it comes to casino gaming, users are still waiting for further legislation to legalize online casinos so that things like table games, slots, and online poker are all offered by licensed operators in Iowa.
Fortunately, there is nothing stopping Iowans from playing online table games and poker for real money today. You just have to use reputable Iowa online betting sites located offshore. In this guide, we will show you the best offshore gambling sites, and which factors you should be looking for when finding the best sites to gamble online in the Hawkeye State.
Iowa’s Top-Rated Online Gambling Sites
At Bookmakers Review, we are always reviewing online casinos and sports betting operators to find the best all-around gambling sites to use for the most betting markets, the best promotions, and competitive odds. We have pinpointed our top 10 list of online gambling sites for Iowa users:
- Bookmaker.eu – Best sportsbook for early lines
- Heritage Sports – Great cashback programs
- Bovada – Great for poker and prop betting
- BetOnline – Huge casino library and fast payouts
- BetAnySports – Best reduced juice and lottery games
- BetUS – Unique promos for new users
- WagerWeb – Great promos for crypto fans
- JustBet – BookMaker’s sister site
- Everygame – Elite site design
- SportsBetting.ag – Unique sports promos and contests
Is online gambling legal in Iowa?
Yes, thanks to the Iowa sports betting law passed in 2019, there are various forms of gambling that are legal online in Iowa: Sports betting, Daily Fantasy Sports, and horse racing. But when it comes to online casino gambling like table games and poker, that is not yet approved by gaming law in Iowa.
The legal gambling age in Iowa is 21 years old. If you end up joining offshore casino sites, you only need to be 18 to register there.
Sports bettors in Iowa are allowed to bet on in-state college teams like the Iowa Hawkeyes and Iowa State Cyclones. However, no prop bets on college players are allowed at regulated sportsbooks, only offshore sites.
Comparing the Top Online Gambling Sites for Iowa
We have included an in-depth review, including the pros and cons, of our top 10 online betting sites. These sites are all located in Costa Rica, Panama, and Antigua where online gambling is legal. You should have no issues with joining them from Iowa as they are just following the laws of their local jurisdictions.
No matter which of these offshore sites you choose, you can count on all 10 of them to offer sports bets on your favorite teams (college teams included), horse racing markets, slot machines, table games, and other casino-style games.
1. BookMaker: Earliest Sports Betting Lines
From Costa Rica, Bookmaker.eu has earned a reputation since 1996 for having the earliest sports betting lines in the market. Sharp bettors like them for that reason and for the fact that BookMaker will not limit winning players. They also have high limits and a very good reward program with nice deposit bonuses.
BookMaker has a variety of sports betting markets, competitive odds, good props and the mobile site is a quality experience for live betting. There is also a very good fixed odds racebook with dozens of tracks from around the world available and daily rebates for your wagers.
While there is no poker room, you will find a full-service casino with slots, table games, video poker, and live dealer games with reasonable limits. You also can get RTP info on each casino game, giving you a nice edge to see which games do the best job of paying money back to the player.
BookMaker is a strong choice for both expert gamblers and those just trying out their first online gambling site from Iowa.
- Take advantage of early betting lines
- High limits and good reward program
- Good for live betting
- Casino games have RTP info listed
- Good live dealer games in casino
- Solid racebook with fixed odds only
- No poker room available
- Not as many props
- Not as many casino games as BetOnline or other competitors
2. Heritage Sports: Great Cashback Programs
Starting in 2001 in Costa Rica, Heritage Sports has moved past its invitation-only roots for open access to all online gamblers, including those in Iowa. You will get access to a site with the best cashback programs as you can expect daily rebates in the racebook, weekly rebates on net casino losses, and quarterly rebates on your sportsbook betting volume.
The best thing about the bonus funds at Heritage Sports is that they carry little rollover requirement and you can use them anywhere on the site with no restriction. Other sites usually force you to stick to one section for bonus funds or limit which games they can be used on. But that is not the case at Heritage Sports, which also offers you reduced juice with -108 lines on the sportsbook.
Heritage Sports offers a smaller welcome bonus than most, but the cashback program makes up for that. You also get the best esports coverage, including live streaming of events, and the site is a very good mobile design to help with live betting on a variety of markets.
The casino section may lack the newer games found at some of the rivals, but every casino game on Heritage Sports has a free-to-try version, which is a nice touch. They have several video poker variants available.
- Best cashback programs
- Reduced juice (-108) lines available
- Live betting is functional on quality mobile site
- Unique perks like free birthday parlay
- Casino games are free to try
- Use the bonus funds anywhere on site
- Only video poker available
- Fewer new casino games than rivals
- One of the smallest welcome bonuses
3. Bovada: Great for Poker and Prop Betting
Bovada is a very popular offshore gambling site from Costa Rica. It belongs to the No. 1 poker network for American players, and you will find an assortment of poker tournaments and cash games available after downloading free poker software at the site.
The sportsbook is also well designed with a wide variety of sports and leagues available, the prop builder is as good as any out there, live betting is solid, and the racebook is also very well put together. The virtual racing markets at Bovada are unique and fun to try. They also have a unique lottery game with numbers that you can bet on every 40 seconds all day long.
The casino has over 100 games, putting it ahead of BookMaker and Heritage Sports on the variety of games list, but still behind BetOnline and BetUS. But you will find some solid online slots and table game options here along with other casino-style games.
The welcome bonuses are huge for new crypto users as you can get over $3,750 in bonus funds on your first three crypto deposits with Bovada promo codes. New poker players can also get up to $500 in a deposit match. But the ongoing promos are a bit lacking at Bovada. Fortunately, you can enroll in a good reward program where your points never expire, and you can use them to redeem bonus bets and poker tournament entries.
- Ideal pick for online poker fans
- Points never expire in reward program
- Huge crypto bonuses
- Solid library of casino games
- Arguably the best prop builder in the sportsbook
- Fun virtual racing section
- Not as many ongoing promos as rivals
- Fewer slot options
- Racebook lacks trainer and jockey info
4. BetOnline: Huge Casino Library and Fast Payouts
BetOnline is a great choice for anyone in Iowa seeking an all-around strong online gambling experience. This means you get a racebook with the highest daily rebates (9% on exotic wagers), a casino with hundreds of exclusive games, poker tournaments, and cash games that are only rivaled by Bovada, and a solid sportsbook with opinionated lines and unique promos.
The other hallmark at BetOnline is the combo of high limits, fast payouts, and diverse payment methods. You will find many unique promos not offered at other sites like bad beat poker jackpots and sportsbook insurance bets when things go badly wrong like your team getting shut out or blowing a big lead after halftime in the NBA. There are also many contests available with both paid and free entries to win big prizes. The promo codes at BetOnline can also be used for additional perks.
Our only real complaints with BetOnline are the lack of demos in the huge casino section and that the prop builder is not as good as it could be in the sportsbook. But you will find plenty to love here if you like the various aspects of online gaming.
- Very good poker tournament options
- Solid site design
- Fast payouts and high limits
- Hundreds of online slots available
- Opinionated lines in sportsbook
- Diverse payment methods
- No demo versions in casino
- Prop builder is not as good as rivals
5. BetAnySports: Best Reduced Juice and Lottery Games
With BetAnySports, you will find the best reduced juice (-105 odds) in our list. The only issue is finding those best odds because the site’s layout can be confusing with a myriad of different lines listed in the sportsbook. But once you get around that initial confusion, you will find a very good sportsbook with a great prop builder for a wide variety of sports, including the chance to bet on your favorite basketball team and football team.
But they do more than just sports here because there are seven different casinos to choose from with over a dozen table games, plenty of online slots, 3D slots, video poker and more. You can also play live dealer games. When you register, you have your choice of welcome bonuses, including a casino rebate.
The lottery section is a must for lottery fans as you can play drawings from multiple states on a daily basis. Winners get 80% better payouts too. This is the only online casino in our list that is offering legitimate lottery games, so that is another unique touch that makes BetAnySports stand out.
- Best reduced juice (-105) in sportsbook
- Solid racebook tracks available
- Try seven different casinos
- Live dealer games available
- Play Iowa lottery games from home
- Very good prop builder
- No poker tournaments
- Site layout is confusing at first
- Smaller bonuses than rivals
6. BetUS: Unique Promos for New Users
Since 1994, BetUS has learned to service its customers with the best gambling experience they can. One of the ways they do this is to provide a helping hand to get you started on the sportsbook and casino with unique welcome bonuses that are split between both sections of the site.
You also get more original content and analysis from BetUS than at any other competitor. You can read informative guides on blackjack, horse racing, and more. You can watch expert analysis and get predictions from BetUS TV, a YouTube channel that covers just about every sport with original programming at no extra cost.
The casino does not have a poker room, but you will find hundreds of newer games with demo versions available for all.
The only reason BetUS just misses the cut for our top five is that their rollover requirements are among the highest of any site, so it is harder to convert the bonus money into real money. They also do not have the best prop builder around.
- Great at providing customer with gambling insight
- Informative guides on various topics
- Expert picks with BetUS TV
- Unique promos for casino and sportsbook
- Demo versions for casino games available
- Good graphics in casino
- Does not have a poker room
- Rollover requirements are high
- Not the best prop builder
7. WagerWeb: Great Promos for Crypto Fans
WagerWeb makes a wise decision to model itself after Heritage Sports, one of our top-ranked online gambling sites. You will find good cashback programs, a solid live betting site, esports coverage, and plenty of video slots and table game options with free-to-try versions available. You can also play a free weekly NFL contest.
Where we lose some points on WagerWeb is with the welcome bonuses where the best ones are reserved for Bitcoin and MoneyGram deposits. Not everyone uses those methods, so you will not get the best offers if you do not use those. You also do not instantly get your bonus after making your initial deposit like at most sites. You have to contact customer service for that, and customer service is not available 24/7 at WagerWeb.
- Very good for live betting markets
- Over 200 casino games (demos available)
- Full track odds on racebook
- Casino cashback each Monday with no rollover
- Great crypto bonuses
- True parlay odds in sportsbook
- Non-crypto users get weaker bonuses
- Customer service is not 24/7
- No poker room
8. JustBet: BookMaker’s Sister Site
JustBet has existed for the last decade as the sister site to BookMaker, our No. 1 online gambling site from Costa Rica. This means you will find a very similar experience with a three-tier reward system, the earliest sports betting line on the market, and winning players will not be limited.
But you almost find too much of a BookMaker experience here as JustBet does not bring anything new to the table like more casino games or a poker room. So, if you like BookMaker, you will enjoy JustBet. You just may struggle to see a reason to have an account with both, and BookMaker has a better mobile site and reputation in the industry and you can enjoy double the welcome bonuses.
- Same early betting lines like BookMaker
- Very good reward program
- Solid prop selection
- Live dealer games in casino
- Decent racebook
- Lacks any innovation from BookMaker
- No poker room
9. Everygame: Elite Site Design
Everygame is our lone Antigua site as it used to be called Intertops before a rebranding to celebrate its 25th year in the business. But that rebranding also led to a very sharp site design, live betting on the sportsbook and great poker software. The tournaments and prizes are not as big at Everygame as what you will find at the more popular BetOnline and Bovada, but this is one of the few options you get with a poker room and a sportsbook.
The sportsbook has a good variety of betting markets available, though keep in mind there is no racebook section. The casino is very good with sharp graphics and sound. You also get decent bonuses with Everygame promo codes.
- Great site design
- Free poker software for tournaments
- Tons of sports betting options
- Casino section is large
- Solid promotions
- More for casual sports bettors
- No dedicated racebook section
10. SportsBetting.ag: Unique Sports Promos and Contests
SportsBetting.ag is the sister site to BetOnline. That means you get the same poker network hosting similar tournaments and cash games that are among the best options out there for online poker fans. You also get the high limits and fast payouts that BetOnline is known for.
They have the same unique sports promos and contests found at BetOnline as well. That also means they share some of BetOnline’s flaws, including no demos in the casino and a mediocre prop builder in the sportsbook.
- Poker tournaments available
- Unique sports promos
- Some of the fastest payouts
- Plenty of casino game variety
- Free and paid contests available
- Does not improve on BetOnline
- No demos in the casino
Our Rating Methodology
When it comes to using these offshore sites, our rating methodology always looks at a variety of factors that should stand up regardless if we are reviewing casino operators, online sportsbooks, or racebooks. Quality online casino gambling is going to come from online casino sites that offer a variety of games and betting markets, good customer service, generous bonuses, diverse payment methods, live betting markets, and strong mobile site designs and interfaces.
The History of Gambling Laws in Iowa
For a state in the Midwest, Iowa has been fairly pro-gambling over the last 40 years. But much of that was brought on by the farming shortage in the 1980s, which attacked a huge sector of the state’s economy. They found another revenue stream in gambling after legalizing horse and dog racing in 1983 with the establishment of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, then a state lottery was passed in 1985 with the first tickets sold in August.
Iowa made history in 1989 by becoming the first state in the country to legalize riverboat casino gambling. In 1991, the first riverboat casinos in the country would open in multiple Iowa territories. These casinos and the racetracks would soon introduce slot machines and table games, allowing them to be full-service casino property.
The next step would be legalizing sports betting, which got much easier in 2018 after the Supreme Court overturned PASPA, the 1992 ruling that effectively banned sports gambling in most of the country. Once that was lifted, every state had the right to legalize sports betting if it wanted to.
Iowa became the 11th state and the first in the upper Midwest to legalize it after Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the bills in May 2019. This also legalized Daily Fantasy Sports in the state. By August 2019, there was in-person sports betting and online sports betting in Iowa. Initially, there was an in-person registration requirement where you had to visit a casino with retail sports betting to apply to bet online. But that requirement went away on New Year’s Day in 2021, making it much easier during the pandemic for Iowa bettors to complete remote registration.
Since then, Iowa has licensed about 18 online sportsbook operators for betting in the state to go along with over 20 land-based casinos, many of which have been offering in-person sports betting. In February 2023, the Blackbird Bend Casino became the first of Iowa’s tribal casinos to have in-person sports betting.
Now Iowans just wait for the day when legislation is passed to legalize online casino gaming and online poker.
Timeline of Gambling in Iowa
The following timeline shows the most important gambling events in Iowa history:
- February 2023: Blackbird Bend Casino becomes Iowa’s first tribal casino to offer in-person sports betting.
- 2021: Starting January 1, the in-person registration requirement for online wagering expires, permitting remote registration to do online sports betting in the state.
- August 15, 2019: Iowa launches sports betting platforms at both retail sportsbooks and online with several sports betting operators. Iowans initially have to register in person to do online betting.
- May 2019: Gov. Kim Reynolds signs bill SF617, legalizing sports betting and daily fantasy sports in Iowa.
- 2018: The Supreme Court determines that PASPA is unconstitutional, giving each state the right to choose to have legal sports betting.
- 2004: Table games are first permitted at racetracks, making them full-service casinos as the riverboats eventually convert into land-based commercial casinos.
- 1994: Slot machines are permitted at the racetracks.
- 1991: The United States’ first riverboat casinos open in Iowa in Dubuque and Scott Counties.
- 1989: Iowa is the first state in the country to legalize riverboat casinos.
- 1985: A state lottery is approved in April with the first tickets sold to Iowans in August.
- 1983: The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission is created to supervise pari-mutuel horse and dog racing in the state.
Key Features of the Best Online Gambling Sites
The best online gambling sites will have the key features we briefly mentioned earlier, but the following sections go into detail about why we think these features are so important to a site earning a good grade.
Competitive Gambling Odds
Anyone who frequently does sports betting will tell you to price shop for the best odds on the bets you want to make. These sites offer competitive odds, but some are better than others at getting reduced juice or opinionated lines. That spread you want to bet at -110 might be available at -108 or -105 on a different site. Be sure to sign up with multiple sites and make sure you are consistently getting the best odds that you can.
Wide Variety of Betting Markets Available
No matter which forms of gambling you are interested in, you want to see the most options possible for betting. Otherwise, you are going to find a site that has what you are looking for.
- Sportsbook: Variety of professional sports, college sports, international leagues, and plenty of betting options (singles, parlays, props, live bets, teasers, pleasers, round robins, same game parlays, etc.).
- Casino: Variety of games including slots, video poker, table games, poker, and other casino-style games like Keno.
- Racebook: Win/place/show bets and exotic wagers (Exacta, Trifecta, Superfecta, Daily Double, Pick 2-6, etc.).
Deposit & Withdrawal Methods
It is always extremely important to have an online gambling site with diverse payment methods. You should be able to use traditional methods such as debit cards, credit cards, and bank wire transfers. You should also see newer methods such as eWallets and crypto. We also take note of the processing fees, times and limits involved with each payment method.
Generous Promotions & Bonuses
Getting a great welcome bonus is nice, but those offers usually carry a high rollover requirement, making it harder for you to ever withdraw those bonus funds as real money. But it sure is nice to get a lot of bonus bets right away from your initial deposit.
However, the ongoing promos for existing users are just as important. You should be treated to risk-free bets, deposit bonuses, boosted odds for select markets, free spins, a refer-a-friend program, and a loyalty program where you can accumulate more points the more you bet on the site. Those points can then be redeemed for bonus funds or other perks. Some sites like Heritage Sports even offer a free birthday parlay or every eighth deposit being on the house.
Some promos involve a promo code while some just ask you that opt-in before reaping the benefits.
Live Betting and Live Dealers Are Available
Live gambling is a big deal with these mobile sites now. Sports fans want to be able to bet on live games to add to their enjoyment of the game, or maybe they can hedge a pre-game bet or find something of value from watching the game unfold. Live betting continues to increase in popularity as more markets are offered beyond just the spread, total, and moneyline.
Live dealers are also a big deal in the casino. If you want to see the cards you are dealt or see the roulette wheel spin for yourself, you can do that with these live dealer games. A real person is seen thanks to video while you place your bets. They cannot see you but you can communicate via text if necessary. There are reasonable limits for these live dealer games, so it is the closest thing you can get to playing a table game at a casino without actually being there in person.
Quality of the User Interface
A good user interface at an online gambling site means having sections that are clearly labeled and neatly organized with the various betting markets in the sportsbook, racebook, casino, and any other sections (poker, esports, contests, promos, etc.). You should be able to quickly deposit and request withdrawals of your money. There should be an area to check your open and settled bets with ease. You should have the option to search for sports markets and add your favorite casino games to a personalized favorites list for quick access.
Mobile Site Quality
With so many people betting with sports betting apps on their mobile devices, a good mobile site is crucial. The offshore casinos tend to not have mobile apps you can download like a FanDuel Sportsbook app, but they have mobile sites that are optimized to run well on a mobile device. You can also add these sites to your home screen for quicker access. In using the site, we want to see a lag-free experience with good graphics and sound that can handle high server usage at peak traffic times.
Customer Service Contact Options
Whether you are disputing a sports bet or need help with a deposit, there are many needs for a customer service department at an online gambling site. We judge the best ones to offer 24/7 support and the most forms of contact options possible, including messages where you can add attachments, emails, phone calls, and a live chat feature.
Site’s Security & Safety Features
If you want to win real money online using these gambling sites, you must enter identifying info such as your name, address, phone number, email, and possibly more if you are linking your bank account or eWallet for use on the site. That is why we must be confident that the sites are encrypting our data and that our connection is secure. Any site in the world can be hacked these days, but we go with trustworthy sites that have a lot of experience in the industry to feel confident they have the latest safety features to protect our user data from harm.
Online Gambling in Iowa
In the next sections, we are looking at the primary forms of online betting in Iowa: Sports betting and casino gambling.
Betting on Sports in Iowa
In Iowa, you are permitted to bet on your favorite teams, professional teams, college teams, and a variety of popular leagues and international leagues. You just have to be at least 21 years old to bet on sports with a licensed Iowa sportsbook. You only need to be 18 to join an offshore sportsbook and gamble there.
Many states have a rule where you cannot bet on collegiate teams that play in your state or any college game that takes place in your state. But Iowa is not one of those states. You can feel free to bet on the Iowa Hawkeyes football team or the Iowa State Cyclones basketball team.
You will find a wide variety of betting markets for sports, including singles, parlays, same-game parlays, props (player/team/game), futures, round robins, teasers, pleasers, live betting markets, and more.
In addition to the popular sports leagues, you can expect top-rated online sportsbooks to offer more niche sports such as cricket, darts, snooker, table tennis, and handball.
Casino Gambling in Iowa
Online casino gambling in Iowa is restricted to offshore sites since there is no law yet to legalize these casino-style games. When using offshore casinos, you can expect a wide variety of slot machines, table games (blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat, etc.), online poker (video poker, cash games, tournaments), and specialty games (Keno, Bingo, and scratch card games).
Not every site will have an online poker room, but you can always count on online slots and table games available in a casino section at one of the trustworthy offshore sites we recommended to join.
An Overview Of In-Person Gambling In Iowa
Iowa is home to more than 20 casinos for in-person gambling, including retail casinos such as Horseshoe Council Bluffs, Diamond Jo Casino, Prairie Meadows, and Q Casino. You can also visit one of the four tribal casinos, and there are still a couple of riverboat casinos that the state was originally known for in the 1990s.
In-person gambling in Iowa has taken on a slight change in recent years as the brick-and-mortar casinos now allow retail sportsbooks to operate on their property. Even the tribal casinos have started this with Blackbird Bend Casino opening a sportsbook for retail betting in 2023.
At the average land-based casino in Iowa, you can expect a large number of slot machines, a fair amount of table games, and usually a poker room. You can also expect video poker machines and likely a retail sports betting section.
How to Create an Online Gambling Account
Setting up your online sports betting account is a simple process that we have detailed below in four steps. It should be roughly the same process no matter which of the offshore sites you choose to join.
Step 1. Sign-Up
Start the process by heading to the site you want to join and begin creating your new account. You will want to pick a good password that you are not using anywhere else.
Step 2. Verify Your Details
Your account must be verified before it is confirmed in the system. You will have to enter your name, email address, address, and a working phone number you can be reached at.
Step 3. Fund Your Account
You must fund your account before you can start betting. Before you do this, be sure to head to the promotions page and read about the welcome bonus, because that initial deposit is most likely going to trigger it. Once you figure out how much you want to deposit to take advantage of that big offer, head to the deposit section and choose from your favorite deposit method to fund your account.
Step 4. Enjoy Various Gambling Options
Now that your account is verified and funded with cash, you are ready to start enjoying the various gambling options in front of you. Choose from the sportsbook, racebook, casino section, or even start playing poker. Just remember to bet responsibly and have fun.
FAQs – Online Gambling in Iowa
Yes, the legal gambling age is 21 in Iowa, and the legal online gaming forms include sports betting, Daily Fantasy Sports, and horse racing. You would have to use offshore sites, which are not regulated by Iowa if you wanted to play online poker or online casino games.
The gambling apps that are legal and licensed by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission include all the popular online sportsbooks (FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, Caesars, PointsBet, BetRivers, etc.) and the well-known horse racing sites (TwinSpires and TVG). You can download apps for these sites from your mobile device’s app store.
Yes, BetMGM has the third-largest market share among the online sports betting apps, trailing only FanDuel and DraftKings, which had a built-in userbase with Daily Fantasy Sports. BetMGM is available for both the app and mobile sportsbook for Iowa users to join and bet today.
Yes, you can use FanDuel Sportsbook in Iowa, but you will not be able to play the FanDuel Casino. You also can play the Daily Fantasy Sports offered at FanDuel with the same account you use for sports betting.
No, DraftKings Casino is not legal in Iowa as of 2024. However, there are plenty of real-money online casinos operating offshore that accept players in Iowa.
Governor JB Pritzker aims to double the Illinois sports betting tax rate to 35%, seeking a fiscal windfall for the state. While potential revenue could reach $200 million, concerns arise about its impact on operators, raising questions about the industry’s future.
The Study Commission on the Future of Gaming in Ohio is delving into the prospect of legalizing online casinos. Exploring potential revenue, regulatory frameworks, and industry impact, Ohio aims to join the ranks of states benefiting from iGaming, with discussions set to continue in upcoming meetings.
Minnesota’s House File 2000, championed by Rep. Zack Stephenson, could bring legalized and regulated sports betting to the state. With support from professional sports teams and plans for responsible revenue allocation, the bill aims to transform an unauthorized activity into a supervised and beneficial industry.
California tribes claim illegal card games cost $100 million yearly, seeking resolution. Led by the Viejas Tribe, a coalition pushes for SB 549, aiming to grant tribes legislative recognition and address exclusivity rights. The battle involves complex legal intricacies.