This is the most easily understood method of gambling on a sporting event, and is sometimes called a straight bet. You make your selection, you decide how much you want to stake and place your bet accordingly. One advantage is that you know exactly how much you’re going to win if you called it right.
The best sports betting sites in Iowa 2022
There are plenty of sports betting opportunities in Iowa. See our shortlist to find the best sportsbooks in Iowa in 2022, as rated by our experts, or read on for tips and guides on safe and legal betting in the Hawkeye State.
Our top recommended Iowa sportsbooks
Sites for Iowa bettors to avoid
Despite the presence of so many licensed operators working legally to offer Iowa online sports betting, it’s still possible to wager with an unregulated offshore provider. On our blacklist, you will find the names of firms that are notorious for false advertising, and others where players have encountered serious problems withdrawing their money.
Top online sportsbooks in Iowa
With about 20 of the leading sportsbooks now offering legal online sports betting, bettors in Iowa have an enviable selection of potential wagering partners. The ever-growing size of the betting handle shows that increasing numbers of people are taking advantage of the opportunity to play with some of the best operators from the USA and beyond.
BetMGM went live in Iowa at the start of 2021, and its land-based partner here is the Diamond Jo Worth Casino. This is an operator that has grown quickly and now offers legal sports betting services in a number of states.
At the heart of the BetMGM offering is the extensive casino experience of BetMGM Resorts International, that has been fused with the sports betting expertise of Entain. Entain is a well known brand from Europe that includes some household names in the wagering space.
BetMGM is known for its phenomenally broad range of sports to bet on, as well as for the frequency and quality of its promotions for existing players. The current welcome bonus for new sign-ups is a risk-free first bet worth up to $1,000.
Caesars is another brand that has leveraged its household name to create an outstanding online sportsbook. This was helped in no small part by the acquisition of trusted and experienced sports betting brand William Hill. Iowa is just one in a long list of states where the sportsbook is live.
It’s is well known for the aggressive marketing campaigns that indicate how confident the brand is. That confidence is backed up by the Caesars proposition in promos. The welcome bonus that gives you a first bet insurance of up to £1,100 is impressive, and it’s followed by several other good offers.
Caesars also delivers a great rewards program that is linked to your casino account – and experienced bettors will know that the Caesars odds on a host of lines are among the most competitive in the market.
FanDuel entered the Iowa sports betting market with a distinct advantage. Its profile was high in the state already thanks to its work in the Daily Fantasy Sports space. However, there’s no denying the quality of its sports betting offering.
FanDuel offers an excellent all-round online wagering experience. It’s particularly good when it comes to delivering a host of opportunities to get involved in major sporting events.
The user experience on both website and app is outstanding, while the breadth of sports and markets offered is extremely generous. Add to this the quality of its bonuses – including a risk-free first bet of up to $1,000 – and innovations such as same-game parlays.
Fubo is one of the more recent arrivals in the Iowa sports betting market. Its roots are different from many of its rivals; this is the sports betting arm of FuboTV, the popular streaming service. FuboTV has a strong focus on sports, which made the sideways move into sports betting a compelling one. Its partner in Iowa is the Casino Queen Marquette.
With its substantial numbers of streaming subscribers, Fubo has an obvious audience to which it can cross-sell its sports betting proposition – and vice versa. Your welcome bonus takes the form of a risk-free bet worth up to $1,000, as well as a free month’s subscription to FuboTV. There is a high level of personalization and plenty of live streaming so that you can watch the result of any wager you place.
Like its long-time rival FanDuel, DraftKings made its name through its excellence in the provision of Daily Fantasy Sports games. It moved with impressive speed to evolve into a leading online sportsbook, and has often been one of the first operators to attain a license in the many states where it’s now legal to play.
DraftKings delivers an outstanding all-round online wagering experience. The site and app are both extensively user-friendly, and you will find a broad range of sports to bet on. DraftKings is also a go-to destination for major sporting events and often runs special bonuses around big games and tournaments.
DraftKings is also known for the way it personalizes your online experience. Your betting history, and stated preferences for particular sports, ensures you are offered bets that are ideal for you.
BetRivers is the sports betting arm of Rush Street Interactive, a well-known name in the casino world. As a result, one of the ways in which BetRivers scores highly is through its rewards program, where any benefits can be used either for online betting or casino.
BetRivers is also highly regarded for the wide choice of sports it offers. As well as all the major American sports, you can find betting markets on a host of international events and leagues.
A solid welcome offer of a deposit match, that effectively doubles any deposit you make up to a limit of $250, is backed up by many other promotions and bonuses. The betting platform is also extremely easy to use, ensuring that the experience of wagering here is a relaxing and enjoyable one.
Betway entered the highly competitive sports betting market in Iowa in October 2021. This is a brand with its roots in UK sports betting where it launched in 2006, and it has expanded impressively. Part of the reason for that is its aggressive marketing and sponsorship strategy.
Betway offers an excellent, broad choice of sports and markets to wager on. It’s known for its highly competitive odds, and it delivers a good experience of betting through both its website and app.
This may be a new name on the market, but Betway has a reputation for shrewdly growing its customer base in all the regions where it goes live. It has the experience to carve out a serious niche in Iowa sports betting and elsewhere. Its land-based partner is the Wild Rose Casino.
Unibet is another brand that made its name in Europe and is now taking significant strides in the North American betting scene. Unibet was founded in London in 1997 and by 2001 it had amassed 200,000 in more than 80 countries.
It’s now live in half a dozen US states and operates in Iowa through a partnership with the Harrah’s Council Bluffs Casino. Unibet’s long experience is there for all to see, with its superlative online gaming platforms and the huge breadth of sports on which it offers markets. Its live betting offering is extensive and complemented by a live streaming capability that has won plaudits from many users.
New customers qualify for a risk-free first bet worth up to $250, and there are numerous other promotions and offers lying in wait once you sign up for an account.
PointsBet was one of the first Iowa online sports betting outfits to go live in November 2019, thanks to its partnership with the Catfish Bend Casino.
With a presence in about a dozen states, PointsBet has established itself in the North American betting space – not bad for a firm that launched in 2017. That was in its home nation of Australia, but it was not long before it moved with speed and purpose into the US market.
The customer experience is top-notch, with betting markets available in a wide range of sports. What makes this operator unique, however, is its system of PointsBetting. You can still wager at fixed odds; but with PointsBetting, the size of your win – or loss – is determined by the final result of the game in question. It’s an exciting and different way to play.
Bally is one of the most venerated names in the casino world, which date back to before the Second World War. In recent years it has evolved to become a large betting and gambling corporation, which includes Bally Bet.
Bally Bet is now live in five states, and its presence in Iowa is down to its partnership with the Elite Casino Resorts, which owns three casinos in the state.
As well as an impressive online betting offering across its website and app, Bally Bet is known for its generous rewards program. As with many casino operators, points earned online can be used for casino play, and vice versa, as the programs are fully integrated.
Your first action with Bally Bet should be to take advantage of the welcome offer that delivers a risk-free first bet of up to $550 – and there are plenty of good promotions to enjoy after that.
Popular sports to bet on in Iowa
No big four team calls Iowa home but that doesn’t mean the people of the Hawkeye State take no interest in sport. As the level of Iowa online sports betting has demonstrated, there are plenty of ways in which bettors can engage with their favorite events and leagues.
The NFL is the world’s richest sports league, and football is the biggest game in the USA. So the lack of any NFL team in Iowa doesn’t prevent a high level of sports betting on the regular season and the Super Bowl.
The presence of several NFL teams in nearby states adds to the interest, and Iowa is home to plenty of fans of the Chicago Bears, Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers. The stop-start nature of football also ensures it’s an ideal medium for those who enjoy in-play betting.
Depending on where you are based in Iowa, it’s likely that there will be a major basketball name from a nearby state that attracts your support. The Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves and Milwaukee Bucks all draw plenty of backing from fans. In this they are helped by the sheer length of the NBA season and the prominence enjoyed by the NBA Finals – as well as college events like March Madness. Basketball is a sport that attracts significant levels of wagering interest all year round.
Baseball enjoys a steady level of popularity in all states because of its status as the most traditional of all American sports. The length of the regular season, the volume of games played and the prominence of the World Series all contribute to its high profile.
Even though Iowa fans have no local team to pull for, there are plenty of big names who get their support. They include the Milwaukee Brewers, the Minnesota Twins, the St Louis Cardinals, the Kansas City Royals, and both Chicago clubs – the Cubs and the White Sox.
Iowa is without an NHL team, though Des Moines is home to the Iowa Wild, an AHL affiliate of the Minnesota Wild. As a result, the Minnesota side gets plenty of support from hockey fans in the Hawkeye State. Other teams that draw backing from Iowa include the St Louis Blues and the Chicago Blackhawks.
The prominence of the NHL in the sporting program across the USA ensures a good level of betting interest in the sport, right through the regular season and all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.
The universal popularity of soccer across the globe ensures the sport has a high profile within the sports betting scene. Fans of “the beautiful game” will always have the opportunity to place bets on games in major leagues across Europe and South America, as well as prestigious competitions such as the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA World Cup. The MLS, which has gained so much in profile in recent decades, also attracts plenty of attention among soccer fans in Iowa.
NASCAR is the most popular, and the most American, of all the motorsports series held at tracks across the USA. Fans of motorsport flock to events at venues such as the Iowa Speedway, which hosts events each year.
Iowa sports betting operators are acutely aware of the affection in which NASCAR and other motorsport series are held by American fans. As a result, there are always extensive markets around every NASCAR event, including prop lines. There’s also the chance to bet on events in IndyCar and Formula One.
Iowa is a state that loves its golf. There are nearly 450 courses located in the Hawkeye State, which also hosts the prestigious local Iowa Open. Golf is a sport that has lent itself to increased levels of wagering in recent years. The fact that there are top-level tournaments taking place all year round across the globe help to boost the profile. The size of the fields involved, and the numerous opportunities for in-play and prop bets, also ensure that there’s always a steady level of interest in golf wagering.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship has gained popularity with sports fans and bettors in the last couple of decades. The regular events on the UFC circuit attract huge numbers of fans and TV viewers. Like all Mixed Martial Arts contests, there is plenty of betting interest too.
As well as being able to wager on which fighter you think will win each bout, there are numerous opportunities to enjoy proposition betting, including the number of rounds the contest will last and the method by which it will finish.
When the Iowa sports betting bill was passed to legalize online sports betting in 2019, it also gave the green light to Daily Fantasy Sports. As in many other states, DFS had been operating in a legally gray area prior to this point. Since then, however, leading DFS operators including FanDuel and DraftKings have been able to offer games to the people of Iowa with complete legal security.
DFS games are extremely popular, especially with sports fans who do not feel they are ready to sample the delights of sports betting yet.
Iowa sports betting facts
Now that more than a dozen operators are giving people the chance to enjoy Iowa online sports betting, the market is growing quickly. The numbers around the activity suggest that this is an industry that is here to stay – and will continue to move in an upward direction.
the total handle in Iowa in 2021 between the launch of sports betting in August 2019 and March 2022
the minimum age to enjoy sports betting under Iowa gambling laws
the amount collected by Iowa in tax revenue by March 2022
the potential total number of Iowa sportsbooks, with each of 19 casinos allowed three online skins
Bet types and markets
How do you like to place a bet on your favorite sport? There are numerous options available – and the large selection of sports betting operators available virtually guarantee that you should find what you are looking for. Among the bet types and markets available will be:
- Live betting
- Point spread
Free bets, bonuses and promotions
In the Iowa legal sports betting market, competition for business is intense. One way in which sportsbooks try to lure customers is through enticing and eye-catching bonuses. This is particularly the case when attempting to persuade people to register for an account – but there should be good ongoing bonuses too.
You should be able to take advantage of an offer that gets your wagering off to an enjoyable start. There are various ways in which this can be delivered – check the terms to make sure you get the maximum benefit from your bonus.
Even before you deposit any of your own money in your new account, some operators will reward you merely for signing up by putting some funds in there to play with. This can, in some instances, be as much as $50.
This takes all the pressure off your first wager with your new account. If it wins, you receive your return as normal. If it loses, however, you still get your initial stake back, normally in the form of a free bet.
Betting operators do not make a habit of handing back cash – but there are exceptions. You should get your stake back if you use a sportsbook that offers parlay insurance. The same might apply if the event you wagered on is called off.
Odds boosts are a common way of offering extra value on a regular, even daily, basis. Sportsbooks enhance the odds about particular outcomes, which can add to your payout if you wager on it and your selection is the right one.
As you bet more regularly with a particular sportsbook, you should be in line for bonuses under a reward scheme. You may even be invited to join a VIP program, which could lead to exclusive offers and special prizes.
Legal sports betting in Iowa
The speed with which new sports betting regulations were introduced in Iowa was impressive. When the US Supreme Court ruled that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was unconstitutional in 2018, legislators pushed forward with legalization quickly.
By May 2019, state governor Kim Reynolds had signed a new Iowa sports betting bill into law. The process of compiling sports betting regulations was completed swiftly, to the extent that it was just three months later that the first retail and online sportsbooks in the state opened for business.
Under the terms of the Iowa gambling laws now in force, each online sportsbook must partner with one of the state’s 19 land-based casinos. Initially, you could sign up for an online account only by attending one of these premises in person – but that restriction was relaxed at the start of 2021.
Each operator must pay a license fee of $45,000, which is far lower than in many other states. The tax rate that each sportsbook must pay to the state on its revenue is also, at 6.75 per cent, relatively reasonable compared to some territories.
What is the legal sports betting age in Iowa?
If you want to place a sports bet in Iowa, you will need to be at least 21 years old. That is also the minimum age for casino gambling.
Are Iowa sports betting winnings taxable?
All forms of income from any type of gambling are regarded as taxable by the IRS. Sportsbooks will probably withhold 25 percent of any winnings to go towards your annual return. In addition, you will probably have to pay a state tax too. The best strategy of all is to maintain an accurate record of all your wins and losses so that you can be sure of filing a correct assessment each year.
Is all sports betting legal in Iowa?
There are certain events on which you are not allowed to wager under Iowa sports betting regulations. For instance, no sportsbook can run markets on entertainment events such as the Academy Awards or TV reality shows.
If you work in sport and are closely affiliated with a particular league or team, you are not allowed to bet on their matches. And, while wagering on college sports is allowed, there is no betting on player props.
As anywhere in the USA, no sportsbook can carry markets on any political events, including local and national elections.
How we rate the best sports betting sites
When it comes to finding the ideal site for sports betting, Iowa presents quite a challenge because of the number of destinations available. Our team of experts has extensive experience in assessing the quality of different sportsbooks and we take several factors into account, including:
Security: Measures should be in place to ensure you play with complete peace of mind
Bonuses: There should be several good offers in place, including a welcome bonus
Markets: You should find a broad range of sports – and many ways to bet on them
Mobile: Betting through your mobile device should be quick and straightforward
Banking: The payment methods available should suit you
Support: The customer support team should be easy to access and quick to act
Responsible gaming in Iowa
While most people who take part in sports betting will find it a pleasant, harmless activity, for a small minority it can cause problems. An inability to control your gambling and to wager within your means can lead to addiction and serious personal problems. The principles to bear in mind when you bet should include:
- Never place a bet when you are upset, or have been drinking
- Never wager more than you know you can afford to lose
- Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you feel your gambling is getting out of hand
- Make sure you check out our responsible gambling page for more information
Is there legal mobile sports betting in Iowa?
Yes, there is. The Iowa gambling laws were changed in 2019 to legalize online sports betting, and that includes wagering through a mobile device. All leading online sports betting operators will have a dedicated mobile app that can be used by owners of both iPhones and Android devices, and they should deliver a high standard of user experience.
What sportsbooks are legal in Iowa?
So far, more than a dozen sportsbooks have launched in Iowa. They include some of the leading names in the industry including FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and Caesars, as well as a host of impressive challenger brands. Iowa sports betting enthusiasts have plenty to choose from.
Do I need to sign up for an Iowa online sportsbook in person?
No, you don’t. When online sports betting was first legalized, you had to attend a casino in person to be able to open an account with an Iowa online sportsbook. However, that stipulation was removed at the end of 2021. You can now sign up to enjoy all the sports betting Iowa has to offer wherever you are.
Do I need to be in Iowa to place real-money wagers?
Yes. If you want to place a real-money wager with a sportsbook licensed to operate in Iowa, you will need to be located within state lines. You don’t have to be a resident, but you will have to be physically within Iowa. The only exception is if you’re with a sportsbook that has a single account to cover all the territories where it has a license and you are located in one of those states.
Can you bet on horse racing in Iowa?
Yes, you can. Live horse racing takes place at Prairie Meadows. You can wager here, and there are off-track wagering sites too. You can also wager at these locations on races held elsewhere. It’s worth noting that, unlike other forms of sports betting, you can place bets on horse racing once you are 18.
Can you bet on college sports in Iowa?
Yes, you can. Unlike some states where wagering on college sports is forbidden, you are allowed to bet on the best NCAA action in Iowa. This includes being allowed to wager on games involving teams based in the state. The only restriction is that you may not place proposition bets on individual athletes in college games.
Are Iowa sports betting sites safe?
Yes, they are. The sports betting and casino worlds have long been at the forefront of online security around their websites and apps. This is a highly competitive industry, and the reputational impact of a breach could be disastrous for any operator. As a result, state-of-the-art protocols are in place and so your personal and financial data should be safe and protected at all times.