Iowa sports betting was officially legalized in May 2019, and it didn’t take the state long to get the industry up and running. The first IA sportsbooks launched later in 2019, and there has been tremendous growth over the last few years.
Iowa has a robust casino industry in place, allowing sports betting to get off to a great start. Giving the established casinos the ability to offer retail sports betting helped things get launched in a hurry.
Iowa continues to adjust and improve some sports betting rules, and it should continue to help the state post better numbers. There are already some great IA sportsbooks available, but more are coming in 2021 and beyond.
Of course, parlay betting has become a popular option for sports bettors in the Hawkeye State, and that is where we come in. BParlay is the leader in parlay betting information, and you need to check out all of our offerings before making a parlay wager at an IA sportsbook.
Other states have posted much better numbers than Iowa, but this has still been a very successful industry since it was launched.
Path to Iowa Sports Betting
Lawmakers in the state of Iowa started looking into sports betting at the beginning of 2018, just before the federal ban was lifted. Iowa wanted to be ready to launch the new industry if given a chance, but unfortunately, there was not a bill passed that year.
It was Representative Jake Highfill that sponsored the 2018 sports betting bill, and much of the same language was ultimately used in 2019. Things didn’t go smoothly to begin 2019 either, but eventually, lawmakers were able to get a bill sent to the desk of Governor Kim Reynolds.
SF 617 was officially signed into law on May 13, and the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission was put to work to set up the new industry. A target date of the 2019 NFL season was set right from the beginning, and that date was met with ease.
Not only was the IRGC able to get retail sports betting up and running, but IA online sportsbooks were ready to go as well. Both forms of sports betting launched on August 15, 2019.
There were only a handful of sportsbooks ready to go on August 15, but that number has continued to climb in recent months.
Iowa Sports Betting Rules/Regulations
Right from the beginning, it was clear that lawmakers wanted to establish an IA sports betting industry that was fair to both sports bettors and sportsbooks. The casino properties in the state were going to be given a chance to offer retail betting, but Iowa wanted to create competitive online sports betting market as well.
These retail casinos were given the opportunity to partner with a sports betting operator to offer retail betting, but each was also given two online sports betting skins. That number has now actually been increased to three skins per casino property, and it should lead to many more sportsbooks entering the state.
The fee for a sports betting license is just $45,000, which is by far one of the lowest amounts in the United States. All sports betting revenue is taxed at a rate of 6.75 percent, which is another low and favorable rate.
Lawmakers wanted to give sportsbooks the chance to offer betting markets on in-state college teams, but there was one major restriction that was included. There can be no prop bets offered for college teams in Iowa, but other forms of betting can be offered.
Iowa did have an in-person registration requirement until January 1, 2021, and that hurt the IA sportsbooks have significant growth. Now that the rule has gone away, it has been much easier for new customers to sign up for a sports betting account.
Sports betting continues to be discussed in the IA legislature, and new rules could be implemented or amended in the coming years.
Growth Expected in 2021 and Beyond
Most industry experts or Iowa lawmakers would consider sports betting a success in Iowa, but it is not one of the top markets in the US. The in-person registration requirement hurt the growth through 2020, but things have already started to change in 2021.
Iowa has gone over the $1.2 billion mark for sports betting handle since the industry launched in August 2019. In comparison, Indiana is over the $3.1 billion mark, and that state launched sports betting in September 2019.
The total sports betting handle totals in Iowa went over $59 million for the first time in November and December 2020. It appeared that the state was set up to have a big 2020, but then the COVID-19 pandemic shut the growth down before it ever began.
Sports Betting Numbers
Sports betting numbers started to pick back up in August 2020, and the end of 2020 was a strong finish for the industry. The total sports betting handle went over the $100 million mark for the first time in December 2020, when the total was $104 million.
Since July 2020, the total sports betting handle numbers have gone up every single month, and this trend is expected to continue into 2021 as well. Now that remote registration and another online option are available in the state. There is limitless potential for IA sportsbooks. Why not check out the BParlay.com recommended Iowa Sportsbook providers.
The March 2021 sports betting handle total was $161.4 million, which is the new state record. Total sports betting revenue for March 2021 was $13.4 million, also a state record.
Since sports betting was launched in August 2019, the state has collected $6.3 million in tax revenue. As sports betting handle and sports betting revenue continues to increase, the number of tax dollars that the state sees should improve as well.
As of March 2021, there are seven online IA sportsbooks apps, but several other companies have already been given a license, and the launch is pending. Of the 19 retail casinos in the state, sports betting is available at all but one of them.
These facts and figures might not represent a large sports betting market, but Iowa could eventually become one in the coming months.
Popular Teams in Iowa
Iowa is a state that doesn’t have any major professional sports teams, and that could potentially impact the success of sports betting. That has not been the case up to this point, as sports bettors in the state still have plenty of teams to root for.
It really depends on where a person is located in the state to predict what the most popular teams are. There are enough professional teams in surrounding states that help drive sports betting.
The National Football League continues to be the top betting market in the US, and there are plenty of popular teams in Iowa. Teams such as the Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, and Kansas City Chiefs are just a few of the teams that help drive IA sports betting.
For the other top professional sports, it’s teams from the same cities and states listed above that receive plenty of attention. The St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs are both popular in Iowa, but MLB is not a huge betting market.
The NBA is the second-largest sports betting market in Iowa while betting on the NHL has not caught on at this time. Outside of professional sports, college football and college basketball attract a large number of bets as well.
Even though in-game prop betting on Iowa college teams is off-limits, sportsbooks see plenty of pregame action on the local teams. The Iowa Hawkeyes and Iowa State Cyclones are two top teams in the state, but there are other options as well.
The Iowa sports betting numbers could benefit from having a professional sports team, but the industry has done well without one.