Legal Iowa Online Gambling, Poker & Casinos

As a state, Iowa has taken a democratic approach to gambling legislation. Through this system of regional decision-making, all major forms of betting are now legal in one form or another across the state.

In Iowa, it’s currently possible to wager money on casino games inside riverboats, tribal casinos and race tracks. Pari-mutual bets on horse racing are also permitted, as are home poker games for stakes of $50 or less.

The only parts of the industry that aren't legal in the state are online casino, poker and sports betting.

Iowa Gambling Laws – Summary and Look to the Future

Iowa is known as the home of riverboat casinos on account of its original fleet of vessels that launched on April 1, 1991. Named Dubuque Casino Belle, the Diamond Lady in Bettendorf and The President in Dubuque, the riverboats were soon followed by the Emerald Lady in Burlington on May 10, 1991.

Since these venues went live, the industry has diversified and Iowans now have the ability to wager money on horse racing, casino games and poker. In light of the recent Supreme Court ruling on PASPA, Iowa could well offer sports betting in the near future.

Iowa Gambling Laws – A Brief History

  • 1983 – The Pari-Mutual Wagering Act is passed, allowing bets on horse racing within the state.
  • 1989 – Riverboat gambling was first legalized.
  • 1992 – The first licenses were negotiated with three Native American Indian tribal gaming compacts.
  • 1994 – Gambling legislations were revised and, among other things, the $200 daily loss limit and $5 per hand maximum bet were removed.

What Types of Gambling are Legal in Iowa?

  • Casino Gambling – Casino gambling is legal in Iowa on riverboats as well as at racetracks and tribal land and they have just about all of the games one would expect such as Blackjack, Roulette, Craps, Slots, Video Poker and more.
  • Sports Betting – Betting on Horse Racing is legal in Iowa and they have simulcasting available as well at their racetracks. Iowa has introduced a bill addressing sports betting and appears set to fast track it. Follow the progress of sports betting in Iowa here.
  • Online Betting – Horse racing is the only form of gambling currently available online in Iowa but all talks about sports betting revolve around online betting on sports. Follow all of the Iowa online betting news here.
  • Daily Fantasy – Daily Fantasy Sports is not legal in Iowa and major players like Fanduel, Draft Kings, and others do not operate in Iowa.
  • Poker – Poker is legal at casinos in Iowa.
  • Bingo – Bingo Halls requires a license that costs between $40 and $100 and lasts for 2 years. Charities and religious organizations in Iowa can offer Bingo but they must register with the state.
  • Lottery – Iowa has a state lottery as well as interstate lotteries.