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Iowa Gambling Guide

Iowa has been in the foreground of the gambling industry in the USA for quite a while now. Even in the early 1800s, Iowa was home to several casinos, especially riverboat casinos. This tradition carried through into the 1900s as well, and during the latter part of the 20th century, laws began to take shape legalizing gambling in the state. 

Newer laws over the last four decades have seen Iowa become one of the more attractive destinations for gamblers in the midwest. Boasting a plethora of casinos and a variety of gambling options including poker, lotteries, and racing, gambling is a thriving billion-dollar industry in the state.

Iowa’s gambling revenue has contributed to its growth and development too, funding long terms visionary projects such as the RIIF, Environment First Fund, Vision Iowa, and Iowa skilled workers. 

Gambling Laws and Regulations in Iowa

Iowa, like many of the Midwestern states, has taken the lead in terms of legalizing and organizing its gambling sector in the US. The passing of the Pari-Mutuel Wagering Act in 1983 was a milestone in this regard. This bill legalized horse and dog racing in the state. 

A 1991 law was also passed which permitted individual counties to vote on whether they’d permit casinos on their land. This was followed by the establishment and licensing of a number of casinos over the next two to three decades. 

Most forms of gambling are legal in Iowa, with the exception of a few.

Currently, the focus in the Iowan gambling community is to follow the lead of states like Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey to legalize online casinos, sports betting and online poker.

All in all, Iowa is a very attractive destination for tourists who’d want to try their hand at a bit of gambling. It also has excellent hospitality options in terms of hotels and other lodgings, which makes it easy for people from outside to stay in Iowa. 

Casinos in Iowa

Iowa has granted licenses to a large number of casinos to operate in the state. The number of brick and mortar casinos in operation in Iowa is 22. There are also 13 poker rooms and 3 Indian Casinos. 

Following is a list of all the casino locations in Iowa:

Out of all the 22 casinos, the most popular include

  • Ameristar Casino Hotel (Council Bluffs) – Located at 2200 River Road, Ameristar is a 160-room hotel with a 38,500 sq. Foot casino. It has over 1400 slots. 
  • Horseshoe Casino (Council Bluffs)This casino permits horse betting too, along with a variety of card games. It’s located at 2701 23rd Avenue and has close to 2000 slots. 
  • Hard Rock Casino (Sioux City) With 800 slot machines and a lot of different betting options, Hard Rock is located at 401 Douglas Street. 
  • WinnaVegas Casino (Sloan)Located at 1500 330th Street, WinnaVegas is a small but very popular casino in Iowa. It has around 850 slots. 
  • Harrah’s (Council Bluffs)This casino is located at 1 Harrah’s Boulevard and has approximately 1000 slot machines. 

Other casinos in Iowa are the Blackbird Bend, Catfish Bend, Lady Luck, Diamond Jo, Great Falls, Isle of Capri, Lakeside, Wild Rose, Riverside, Rhythm City, Prairie Meadows, Meskwaki, and Mystique. 

Racetrack betting venues in Iowa are situated in Altoona and Dubuque. The former has the Prairie Meadows while the latter is home to Dubuque Greyhound Park. 

Different Types of Gambling in Iowa

Iowa allows many different forms of gambling. However, there are certain restrictions in place too. Below is a list of the different forms of gambling in Iowa and the extent of their legality:

  • Sports Betting – 18 of Iowa’s licensed casinos are authorized to offer sports betting facilities. It was one of the first states to legalize horse and dog racing in 1983. Betting apps and sportsbooks in Iowa are expected to start operating soon – by the fall of 2019. Some key betting laws in Iowa include:– Minimum betting age is 21
    – In-person registration is required for mobile betting
    – The licensing fee is $45,000 for casinos, and they must pay a 6.75% tax
    – Wagering on college sports is allowed, unlike in some other states
  • Casino Gambling – This is one of the most popular forms of gambling in the state. Casinos like the Ameristar, Harrah’s, Horseshoe, Diamond Jo, etc. are all partnered with some of the biggest names in slot gaming. The casinos also house poker, blackjack, craps, roulette, and other card gaming options which make it a prime location for casino enthusiasts. 
  • Horse Racing – As stated before, Altoona and Dubuque are home to the races in Iowa. This is one of the primary gambling attractions in the state. 
  • Online Gambling – Fantasy sports, horse racing, and online sports betting are all permitted in Iowa after recent legislation. However, Daily fantasy sports websites such as and are banned in the state.
  • Lotteries – There is a state lottery present in Iowa. Tickets for this are sold at convenience stores but not over the internet. 

Charitable gambling and social gambling are also allowed in Iowa under authorized bodies. Revenues raised from gambling contribute a significant amount to Iowa’s growth and development. In fact, it raises almost $18 billion a year.

Is Online Gambling Legal in Iowa?

Yes, online gambling is legal in Iowa after recent legislation. 

Is Sports Betting Legal in Iowa?

Yes, laws regarding sports betting were recently passed by lawmakers. The state is taking steps toward offering sports betting in casinos and online by early 2020.

What is Iowa’s Minimum Gambling Age?

21 is the minimum gambling age in Iowa. 

How Many Casinos are there in Iowa?

There are a total of 22 casinos in Iowa. There are also 3 Indian Casinos and 13 poker rooms.