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Sports betting in Iowa

Gambling law in Iowa is a mixed bag. There are a decent number of state regulated gambling options in the state but at the same time Iowa has some of the most stringent laws and severe penalties for anything unregulated. Social poker games are allowed in Iowa though there is a $50 ‘maximum profit rule’. As long as nobody is making money from hosting the games there’s little effort at enforcement though that doesn’t negate the fact that it is technically illegal.

Parimutuel betting on horse and greyhound racing was legalized in 1983 with provisions for simulcast wagering added in 1989. There is currently one greyhound track (Iowa Greyhound Park) and one horse track (Prairie Meadows). Both facilities also offer casino games including poker, table games and slots.

The Iowa Lottery began in 1985 with Powerball added in 1992 and Mega Millions in 2009. Today, the Iowa Lottery offers several other draw games including LottoAmerica, a variety of scratch off games, along with terminal based InstaPlay games. In 1987, the lottery began offering pull-tabs and a variety of these games are also available for purchase at retailers.

There are currently nineteen licensed casinos in Iowa offering both slots and table games along with several Native American casinos. A bill was proposed in January 2018 to allow licensed casinos and racetracks to offer sports betting but was gutted in February 2018 after meddling by professional sports leagues. The 2018 session closed without a vote.

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