Best Iowa Casinos & Gambling Laws Guide

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Dave | January 4, 2023 | Updated on: February 5th, 2024

Iowa GamblingGambling in Iowa has a long history, but the state’s gambling status is not on the same level as Las Vegas. However, you will find that in the Iowa state, there is a variation of gambling activities available. The state can be considered as one of the states that pioneered gambling. Even though they may have strict laws that govern their gambling, the country still offers some of the best gambling experiences.

We have put together this Iowa gambling guide to help you get acquainted with gambling in Iowa. Since there are many aspects to the casinos in Iowa, we will touch on some of them. We share with you the Iowa gambling laws, the legal gambling age, the types of casinos, and Iowa sports gambling. By the end of the guide, you will know about gambling casinos in Iowa and exciting facts to get you started with your gambling in Iowa.

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Gambling Laws in Iowa

When the law to allow individual states to decide on their gambling in 1991, it opened an opportunity. Iowa was able to introduce gambling options that would be more catered to the residents. However, that was not the beginning of gambling in Iowa. See the timeline for gambling laws in Iowa below:

  • Betting on horse racing and greyhound is made legal. In 1989 the law for simulcast gambling was extended which included referendums for riverboat gambling. For horse racing gambling and off-track betting, the government has to issue a state of Iowa gambling license for operation.
  • The government introduces Iowa lottery in 1985, where a gambler can choose to bet on Mega Millions (2009) and Powerball (1992) later in the years.
  • In 1991 two riverboat casinos were launched, and three years later in 1994 two more were also launched. Casinos in Iowa are meant to be on a riverboat, racetrack, and tribal land.
  • The gambling laws in Iowa forbid anyone to participate in a game for money or anything of value. However, these exclude horse racing, bingo, licensed casinos, and social gambling.
  • Fantasy sports gambling is not included and is considered illegal in the Iowa state. Social gambling licenses are valid for up to two years. The gambling age in Iowa for all the various kinds of gambling is 21.

Types of Gambling Casinos in Iowa

There are three different types of casinos in Iowa. See the various examples below.

  • Riverboat Casinos – these kinds of casinos were legalized in 1991, allowing passengers a limit of $5 per bet. These restrictions were changed in 1994, and the state did not require the casinos to be on a boat strictly. Casinos that were on moored barges floating on the water were legalized. Currently, there are about 16 riverboat gambling casinos in Iowa.
  • Pari-Mutuel Casinos (Racetrack) – the racetracks were allowed to host slots machines and video poker as it became legalized. However, only three of the racetracks were offering this gambling. In 2004 at the three racetracks there was a provision to add table games.
  • Indian/Tribal Casinos – these casinos are located on tribal land, and they are run by the Native Americans who govern the lands. These casinos are no different from the traditional casinos offering the same casino games such as slots, table games, and live poker. There are three Indian casinos in Iowa.

Iowa Casinos

Online Gambling Iowa

There are no specific laws that govern online gambling in Iowa. However, other laws give the conclusion that online casinos are included. As we have mentioned in the gambling laws in Iowa section above there law says that “participating in a game for any sum of money or other property of value or making any bet…” is the law’s explanation of gambling. When looking at the definition, it doesn’t state anywhere whether online gambling is considered part of this or not.

Iowa Sports Betting

Sports betting was recently legalized in Iowa. It was legalized in May 2019 and only went live from August 2019. Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission will oversee the regulation of sports betting in Iowa.

Sports betting is being offered on land-based casinos and mobile. However, for mobile gamblers will have to go to the local casino and register there first. Then you will be able to download the sports betting app on your mobile and place wagers from anywhere you are in Iowa. This rule will continue until January 2021.

Fantasy Sports Gambling in Iowa

At the moment, fantasy sports betting is not legal in Iowa. However, lawmakers are working on introducing a law that will regulate fantasy sports gambling. The law will be meant to allow daily fantasy sports betting websites, but private bookmaking will be banned. The bill will have the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission regulation the activity and establish legislature, fees, and taxes.

Iowa Lottery

Legal lottery gambling was introduced in 1985 that included scratch cards. There are other kinds of lottery games available for gamblers. Those include the below:

  • Pick 3
  • Pick 4
  • Hot Lotto (multi-state)
  • Lotto America (multi-state)
  • Lucky For Life (multi-state)
  • Mega Millions (multi-state)
  • Powerball (multi-state)

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List of Gambling Casino in Iowa

Ameristar Casino – Council Bluffs 2200 River Road
Blackbird Bend Casino – Onawa 1 Blackbird Bend Boulevard
Catfish Bend Casino – Burlington 3001 Winegard Drive
Diamond Jo Casino – Dubuque 301 Bell Street
Diamond Jo Casino – Northwood 777 Diamond Jo Lane
Great Falls Casino – Larchwood 1415 Grand Falls Blvd.
Hard Rock Casino – Sioux City 401 Douglas Street
Harrah’s – Council Bluffs 1 Harrah’s Boulevard
Horseshoe Casino – Council Bluffs 2701 23rd Avenue
Isle of Capri – Bettendorf 1777 Isle Pkwy
Isle of Capri – Waterloo 777 Isle of Capri Blvd.
Lakeside Casino – Osceola 777 Casino Drive
Meskwaki Casino – Tama 349 Meskwaki Road
Mystique Casino – Dubuque 1855 Greyhound Park Road
Prairie Meadows – Altoona 1 Prairie Meadows Dr.
Rhythm City Casino – Davenport 101 W River Dr.
Riverside Casino – Riverside 3184 Highway 22
Wild Rose Casino – Clinton 777 Wild Rose Drive
Wild Rose Casino – Emmettsburg 777 Main Street
Wild Rose Casino – Jefferson 777 Wild Rose Drive
WinnaVegas Casino – Sloan 1500 330th St.


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