94 days. That is all it took for Iowa to start accepting sports bets after Governor Kim Reynolds signed the bill into law that made them the 11th in the nation to legalize sports gambling.
It’s one of the fastest turnarounds as the first establishments started accepting bets on Thursday.
Iowa might be a small state, with just 3.156 million people, but its advantageous geography combined with the timing of their launch should be exciting news for Midwesterners across the region.
Illinois legalized sports gambling this year as well, but it will be many months before they are ready to launch. Major cities like Chicago, Milwaukee (in Wisconsin), St Louis and Kansas City (Missouri) as well as Omaha and Lincoln (Nebraska) are all within a reasonable drive from Iowa’s borders.
What Iowa did which will make all of those nearby bettors happy, and is also a first, is that their mobile betting launched in tandem with in-person options.
They are just the fifth state to start accepting online bets.
In the initial launch, only the William Hill affiliated retail establishments will be accepting online bets. There are currently eight establishments offering in-person betting and four of them are offering online betting. Those four are Isle Waterloo, Lakeside, Prairie Meadows and Ise Bettendorf.
In this initial phase, new online bettors will need to register in a licensed property before they can start betting. The process will vary from casino to casino, but will involve showing some kind of identification. Once you are registered, bettors will be able to start wagering anywhere in the state.
In 2020, that registration process is expected to shift entirely online.
Bettors will need to be 21 and over. People will be able to bet on just about everything, including college sports in this college sports crazed state. The one exception is for in-state college props.
In total there are 19 casinos in Iowa and they are all expected to launch sportsbooks and online options in the very near future. Even better is that each establishment can have two online brands, so there is a potential for 38 different skins. That will provide a tremendous amount of choice for bettors when it comes to maximizing lines and the kinds of props and events they want to bet on.
The tax rate is among the best in the nation as well at just 6.75%. That is the same as Nevada and that is also good news for bettors. The low rate is likely going to spur more innovation and provide great offerings to midwestern sports gamblers.