A Complete Overview of Online Gambling in Iowa

In the frontier days, Iowa enjoyed its fair share of gambling, with the first lottery starting in the 19th century. Despite the federal ban, Iowa has had quite the development in the past 30 years when it comes to gambling laws. While this state hasn’t updated its laws to ban online gambling specifically, it has laid a blanket ban on any type of gambling and the legislators have confirmed online gambling falls under this wide definition – especially hosting an online website in Iowa that is used for gambling. The one exception to the blanket ban is online horse track betting, which is allowed.

When it comes to land-based casinos and other type of gambling, Iowa has surged forward from the 1980s with a lot of changes to its laws about gambling. In 1983, the Hawkeye State introduced pari-mutuel betting for horse and greyhound races, and two years later also allowed the existence of a lottery. Finally, in 1989, the state introduced riverboat casinos, which were a precursor to the land-based casinos as well as the tribal casinos built later. Sports betting is illegal in Iowa.

Iowa Gambling Overview:

  • Year Iowa regulated offline and online gambling: offline gambling in 1991, online gambling is not specifically regulated
  • Iowa gambling age: 21 for all types of gambling
  • Legal online casino games in Iowa: N/A
  • Number of commercial casinos: 22
  • Number of tribal casinos: 3
  • Top online casinos Iowa-wide: N/A

Gambling in Iowa: What’s Legal?

Iowans enjoy a large amount of freedom when it comes to land-based live casinos, as the regulation is pretty relaxed. Greyhound and horse racing is legal, but the former is being phased out because of pressure from animal rights groups. Riverboat casinos are also legal, with the first two opening in 1991.

Lottery and bingo are also legal throughout the state of Iowa. Furthermore, there are a large number of brick and mortar casinos in the state, including three lavish tribal casinos. There have been few attempts to introduce legislature to regulate online poker and online gambling, but they have been all shot down. Social gambling in your home is allowed in Iowa with a $50 limit on profits, which may need to be updated, but social games where the host doesn’t make any profits may include gambling as well, with a license. Casinos are exempt from smoking laws in Iowa, but may decide to enact smoking bans at their own discretion, so make sure to ask before lighting up.

Online Casinos in Iowa: What You Should Know

Online gambling has been deemed illegal in Iowa, with the exception of online horse track betting. Fantasy sports and esports are also banned because they involve the players paying to enter the game, making no differentiation between games of chance and skill. You should know that while online gambling is deemed illegal, people from Iowa do gamble online and there haven’t been any cases against people gambling simply because the state concerns itself with the operators of online casinos situated in Iowa rather than bettors.

Are Iowa Online Casinos Legal for Non-Iowa Residents?

  • N/A

What types of games do Iowa online casinos have available?

  • N/A

Can I play online casino in Iowa if I don’t live there?

  • N/A

Do offshore online casinos operate in Iowa?

  • Yes they do! They are your only option when it comes to online gaming in Iowa.

How to Choose the Best Online Casino in Iowa

If you’ve decided to ignore the illegality of online gambling in Iowa because of the lack of legal pursuit, you’re not alone. There are no legal online casinos in this state but there are plenty of offshore casinos and casinos in other states that gladly welcome Iowan bettors.

The Bottom Line on Iowa Online Gambling

Iowa has a large presence of land-based casinos and gambling establishments of various types, including a legalized state-sanctioned and state-run lottery. Their laws on online gambling remain old and vague, but there have been a number of attempts in the last decade to relax some of these laws or at least to regulate the online gambling industry. In the future, there are bound to be changes in this state.