Prairie Meadows Expects Mobile Sports Betting Will Start When William Hill Opens Iowa Retail Book on Aug. 15

Posted on: August 2, 2019, 11:23h. 

Last updated on: August 4, 2019, 02:15h.

When Prairie Meadows goes live with sports betting on Aug. 15, officials at the Iowa racetrack and casino anticipate they won’t just be celebrating the grand opening of the retail sportsbook.

The sportsbook at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa, has been ready for months. On Aug. 15, officials at the racetrack and casino will celebrate the sportsbook’s grand opening. (Image: Brian Powers/Des Moines Register)

William Hill will run Prairie Meadows’ sportsbook, and their signage is already in place. It also appears that the largest sportsbook in the US is also ready to launch its online application in the Hawkeye State.

They have every intention of having the mobile operating as soon as the sportsbook opens,” Garrick Mallory, the track’s assistant director of pari-mutuels told Friday.

A representative from William Hill’s US operations did not respond to a request for comment. William Hill will also manage sportsbooks for Lakeside Hotel and Casino in Osceola and two Eldorado Resorts properties, Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo and Isle Casino Hotel.

Other states with both retail and mobile sports betting have seen the launch of mobile products delayed until after the brick-and-mortar sites were running.

Per Iowa’s sports betting law, which was passed by the state legislature earlier this year, people who want to register for an online account first must activate it at the casino. That means anyone wanting to use William Hill’s application would need to visit the track and casino in Altoona, located almost in the middle of the state.

That requirement sunsets in January 2021.

Each licensed casino will be able to establish two mobile applications as part of their license, meaning Prairie Meadows will have the ability to establish a partnership with another online sportsbook.

Already Ready

While Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the bill into law less than three months ago, Prairie Meadows began preparing for sports betting much earlier than that.

In January, the track, opened by the Polk County government 30 years ago, announced its deal with William Hill and began work on an 8,600-square-foot sportsbook. Work was already completed by the time the sports betting bill passed its first committee vote in February.

Now, all that’s left to do is finish up some internal matters, such as standard operating procedures, Derron Heldt, Prairie Meadow’s vice president for racing, told

“We’re having some meetings with our employees and getting everybody familiar with the lingo and how people bet,” he said.

Prairie Meadows will be one of 18 state-licensed casinos that will have sports betting licenses. One casino has not yet sought to open a sportsbook. In addition, three tribal-owned casinos in the state will now have the opportunity to offer sports betting as well.

What to Bet?

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) formally approved the state regulations for sport betting on Tuesday.

Among the sports the IRGC has given pre-approval for are NCAA football and basketball, NFL football, NBA and WNBA basketball, NHL hockey, MLB baseball, and MLS soccer. Available wagers for these sports include moneylines, point spreads, over-unders, and futures betting.

Moneyline and futures betting will also be available for boxing and UFC fighting, NASCAR auto racing, PGA golf, and men’s and women’s tennis. Books also have the chance to offer head-to-head betting on golfers and NASCAR drivers.

Iowa will allow proposition bets and other wagering on individual players, with the exception to the latter being any athlete for an Iowa-based college team or their opponent. The sportsbook must submit a request to the commission for approval.

IRGC approval is also required in case a sportsbook wants to offer betting opportunities on any sport not on the pre-approved list, such as Premier League or European Champions League soccer.