Casino Gambling in Iowa
Iowa Casino Guide
There's been a lot of talk in Iowa about legalizing online casino sites by regulating them within the state. And unlike a lot of other states where there's been lots of talk but little action, Iowa state legislators have actually tried to create an Iowa intrastate online gambling industry. While they haven't been successful quite yet, Iowa gamblers have tons of places to play at legally, including almost two dozen legal casino properties and thousands of online gaming sites that can be enjoyed from anywhere from Des Moines to Cedar Rapids.
Looking to gamble online? Click here to skip to the top Iowa Casinos.
- Population: 3,074,186
- Land Size: 55,857 sq. miles
- Population 18+: 76.3%
- Gambling Age (Casinos): 21
- Gambling Age (Lottery): 21
- Number of Casinos: 21
- Iowa is the only state that starts with two vowels
- Prior to 1994, riverboat casinos had to move frequently
- That changed to remain competitive with Illinois casinos
- Nickname: Hawkeye State
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Ameristar2200 River Road
Council Bluffs, IA, 51501
Horseshoe Council Bluffs2701 23rd Ave
Council Bluffs, IA, 51501
Harrah's Casino & Hotel1 Harrah's Blvd
Council Bluffs, IA, 51501
Mystique1855 Greyhound Park Rd
Dubuque, IA, 52004-3190
Prairie Meadows1 Prairie Meadows Dr
Altoona, IA, 50009
History of Iowa Gambling
The 1980s were good to Iowa gamblers. Online, there wasn't much activity (after all, the first legal Iowa online casino didn't hit the Internet until the late '90s). But live? The '80s were buzzing louder than neon pants under black light.
In 1983, Iowa passed a law that allowed wagering on dogs at greyhound tracks. The same law also allowed wagering on horserace tracks. Today, on top of live horserace betting, you'll also find offtrack betting at other sites where you can bet on simulcast races. The whole offtrack betting notion paved the way for Iowa online gambling and betting on horses - two gambling opportunities that are so widely available today.
The Iowa state government launched their lottery in 1985, and four years later riverboat casinos followed.
Local Casino Venues
You'll find 21 places to gamble in Iowa. The most popular destinations are riverboat casinos. For a long time, the floating casinos had to actually move (they couldn't remain stationary) but that law changed in 1994 when the government allowed the casinos to remain dockside to compete with casinos in Illinois. Online gamblers in Iowa who don't like the idea of casinos floating on water don't have to play exclusively at Iowa casinos online. The state also boasts two reservation casinos.
Casino Gambling Age Restrictions
No matter what type of gambling you want to do, Iowa has you covered with an easy-to-remember gambling age. To legitimately play at casinos online, Iowa residents must be 21 years old. That applies to playing the lottery. That applies to playing at the riverboat casinos. That applies to reservation casinos. And that applies to bingo. Unlike other states that have different gambling ages, it's universally 21 for all Iowa gambling types.
The State of Online Gambling in Iowa
Iowa has taken legalizing online gambling quite seriously. In 2012, a bill to legalize online poker passed in the Senate. Unfortunately the bill didn't pass the house. While online poker players have a lot to look forward to in terms of having a state-recognized Iowa online gambling site to play at, fans of other types of betting continue to be left in the dark.
While that 2012 bill would have legalized online poker, it would have left online casino unregulated. And only companies with bricks-and-mortar casino properties would have been allowed to offer online poker. But even without an Iowa online gambling bill, casino players in Davenport, Sioux City and all over the state still have a lot to look forward to.
The Future of Iowa Casino Gambling
There's a lot to get excited about in Iowa. Online gambling sites are open to players across the state, and even though the government doesn't regulate the sites, players are free to enjoy them thanks to a 2012 ruling by the Department of Justice that clarified that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting. And with tons of gambling opportunities available in every corner of the state, Iowa gambling, online and off, is thriving.
Gambler's Note: Iowa casino laws are always changing. The information on this page is for informational purposes only. Always consult Iowa state law and local regulations before playing at an Iowa online gambling site.
1-800-BetsOffThis is the Iowa Gambling Treatment Program, where players who have lost control can ask the experts and find the answers they seek.
National Council on Problem Gambling/IowaThe Iowa Council on Problem Gambling is the state's Affiliate Chapter of the National Council on Problem Gambling, and has a website loaded with resources for those with gambling problems and their loved ones.