Iowa’s Casino Revenue on a Rollercoaster Ride and Olympic Rules Updated

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A general view of an American flag outside of the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines, Iowa. Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images/AFP

The ups and downs of the casino business in Iowa continue.

Iowa’s casino operators experienced a bounce back in May after April’s downturn. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission is reporting a 2.4% month-over-month increase in adjusted gross revenue (AGR) for May, reaching $148.8 million. This not only marks a recovery but also a 3.5% year-over-year growth. 

According to the IRGC’s May 2024 Gaming Revenue Report, the uptick wasn’t isolated—15 of the 19 casinos in Iowa reported positive revenue trends, signaling a strong performance for the industry in May.

Top Iowa Casinos Account for Most Revenue

The state’s leading three casinos drove the surge, accounting for more than half of the revenue boost. Q Casino led the charge with an increase of nearly 17%, followed by Harrah’s Council Bluffs with a 13.5% rise, and Wild Rose Emmetsburg, which was up nearly 10%.

For May’s AGR rebound, the state’s top three revenue generators were Prairie Meadows, Ameristar II, and Horseshoe Casino Council Bluffs. They combined to contribute $2.8 million to the monthly AGR growth, representing over half of the state’s total AGR increase from Iowa’s April 2024 gaming revenue.

Are Online Casinos Coming to Iowa?

Right now, only seven states let you play casino games online for money, and Iowa isn’t one of them. A lawmaker tried to change that and make it legal in Iowa too, but it didn’t work out. One big reason it didn’t happen is that not all the regular casinos in Iowa are on board with the idea.

There’s no telling when Iowa might let people play casino games online for money. But the fact that some lawmakers are trying to make it happen, by introducing online casino bills, is a good sign that it could be allowed in the future.

The most recent attempt came in April. State Rep. Bobby Kaufmann sponsored HSB227, but the Iowa legislature adjourned without advancing the bill.

Kaufmann thinks the measure is progressively moving in the right direction and becoming “receptive.” However, Wes Ehrecke, the Iowa Gaming Association’s President and CEO, doubts that lawmakers will approve online casino legislation in Iowa by 2025, as reported by

So, you can’t play online casino games for real money in Iowa. But you can play games for free on websites like Chumba and LuckyLand, where you can win prizes. These websites are called sweepstakes casinos and they have their own set of rules and regulations.

Iowa Updating Rules for Betting on Olympics

In other news coming out of Iowa, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) has updated the list of permissible sports bets for the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics

The update details the types of bets that can be legally placed at both online and physical sportsbooks in Iowa, along with the existing betting regulations and guidelines.

A key rule emphasized in the IRGC’s recent update is the ban on wagering on the overall medal count of any country. For instance, it’s not allowed for bettors in Iowa to predict which nation will win the highest number of gold medals. Similarly, bets on the total number of gold medals a country might win are not permitted. This rule also applies to specific sports; therefore, there won’t be any betting options available for the total medals a country might obtain in sports like swimming or gymnastics.

Additionally, the IRGC has made it clear that bets on underage athletes in individual events are forbidden. Events that include participants under 18 years old will be excluded from the betting options on Iowa’s sportsbooks. This restriction also covers final events that may have had an athlete who is 18 years old participating in earlier heats or qualifiers, even if they do not advance to the final event.