Iowa Gambling Information

FAQ / Q&A -- History -- Regulation -- Land Based Casinos -- Fun Facts


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Iowa Online Casinos and Real Money Slots


Regulation and Legality of Online Gambling

From a general perspective, Iowa has legalized gambling over the internet. However, just like in many other states, Iowan legislators have somehow omitted online casinos from any gambling-related bills in the last 15 or so years.

Experts believe that the reason for this stalling is the fact that Iowa has 20 land-based casinos, with a few racinos, tribal casinos, and other gambling venues. Even though the Hawkeye state is only 31rd in terms of total population, it has more land-based casinos per capita than almost every other state, aside from Nevada and Iowa.

Casino owners are afraid that legalizing online casinos will effectively cannibalize their land-based profits. As such, they’ve lobbied tirelessly and manage to succeed in their stalling efforts. Things, however, are starting to change.

In July 2019, the state officially passed a bill that legalized sports betting. The first land-based sportsbooks went live in August, with online ones following suit in December. Social gambling sites, the lottery, and racinos are all legal, too.

When it comes to online casinos, experts believe that Iowa is one of the least likely states to legalize in-state casino sites. The lobbyists are simply too strong for politicians to ignore them.

Nevertheless, you can still play at online casinos in Iowa. Even though there are fines and jail sentences mentioned in laws prohibiting legal gambling, they are never enforced.

You can access just about any site that accepts Iowan players. Both offshore and US-based casinos are known to turn a blind eye to gambling in Iowa, and willingly let players partake in all sorts of activities. Even if a certain online casino blocks you from playing, you can still use a VPN.

Gambling in general in Iowa is covered by the Iowa Code 703 and 725. The issue of online casino games has not been addressed in these two code sections. To be completely honest here, the word ‘internet’ does show up once, but it has nothing to do with casino websites as it is related to the operations of the state lottery.

In recent developments, there were several attempts to shed some light on real cash gambling and betting within the virtual world, but they’ve all failed. An Internet gaming and poker website bill was passed by the State Senate 29-20 in 2012, but it didn’t reach the House. It seems that the legislators are in the mood to pass iGaming-friendly legislation, but we are yet to see some results. One of the issues is the need for a higher popularity of online gaming among the local public. Only 23% of Iowans are in favor of online poker websites, according to a survey done in 2013



Gambling history in Iowa

Located in the center of the American Midwest, Iowa may be better known for its thriving livestock industry than flourishing gambling businesses. But have no doubt – Iowans are into betting. Ever since the 1800s, Iowa residents have been engaging in various gambling activities, the most notable ones being aboard riverboat casinos. Some of those venues even carried over through the early 20th century, but during the early 1900s the gambling situation was somewhat dormant. Then the wave of legalization flooded the IA betting scene and one by one, different gambling businesses sprung into life.

The Pari-Mutuel Wagering Act was passed in 1983. Voters in eight Iowa counties approved riverboat gambling in 1989. The Racing and Gaming Commission was allowed to issue permits to qualifying businesses that wished to organize gambling on boats. As of 1991 there were 4 riverboat casinos operating in the Hawkeye State, and more opened during the following period. Iowa was actually the first state to legalize riverboat casinos in the United States.

A state-wide Iowa lottery was established in 1985 and has been one of the main sources of funds for state-related programs. The state’s Indian fractions signed gambling compacts with the government, marking the start of tribal gaming in Iowa. Bingo was added to the assortment of gambling activities in the early 2000s, so there’s pretty much a wide choice of any gambling option in IA. Online gambling remains the only form of gambling that is yet to be regulated in the Hawkeye State.


Land Based Casinos

People who wish to gamble at land-based establishments in Iowa can do so in licensed racetracks and casinos. In Iowa, there are more than 20 casino facilities; some of them are tribal casinos, whereas the rest are commercial casino business. There are two operational racetracks, the Prairie Meadows in Altoona and the Dubuque Greyhound Park in Dubuque. The riverboat casinos are found within the state’s waterways – along the Mississippi River and Missouri.

Some of the more notable establishments include Ameristar Casino in Council Bluffs, the Catfish Bend Riverboat Casino in Fort Madison, Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs and Riverside Casino in Riverside. The Ameristar Casino Hotel Council Bluffs riverboat casino counts on 38,500 square feet of gaming space filled with slots, video poker machines and table games. The facilities also include a AAA four-diamond hotel. The Riverside Casino & Golf Resort offers over 900 of the newest and most popular slot machines, blackjack and poker live tables, as well as electronic craps and roulette. You can choose among various dining options and also enjoy golf, spa and live entertainment. More interesting venues to visit and gamble at include The Isle of Capri Casino in Marquette and the Meskwaki Casino in Tama (67,553 square feet of gaming space, over 1,350 slots and more than 20 tables).

Neighbouring States: Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin



At which age can I play at online casinos in Iowa?

Even though online casinos are technically illegal in Iowa, that doesn’t mean everyone can exploit the leniency of law enforcement in the state. Underage gambling is an issue that the police and legislators are more than willing to crack down on. So, what should you do given this lack of information?

Well, we believe that the safest route one can take is to restrain from playing at casino sites in Iowa if they’re under 21. As land-based casinos only let in people who are 21+, we used the number as a viable reference.

Which games can I play at Iowan casino sites?

Since Iowan law enforcement is liberal when it comes to sanctioning online gambling, you can basically access any site, regardless of where they’re based. Of course, some sites want to play it safe and are restricted to Iowans, but there’s nothing a VPN can’t solve.

This means that you can play all the popular titles, without too many restrictions.

Currently, Iowan players prefer roulette, blackjack, and progressive slots. Basically, anything that’s sought after in other parts of the world can be found at Iowa online casinos. Just make sure that any offshore site you choose has a reputable license and a clean track record.

Since they don’t officially exist in Iowa, you are left with no protection in case of a dispute. That’s why it’s best to play it safe.

Can I play live dealer games, too?

Of course, Iowans are crazy about live casino titles. Since you technically have a near-infinite amount of choices, you have access to just about any game. Most sites offer black and roulette, while more advanced ones boost their offer with some wacky, experimental variants.

Some casino sites get their products from only one or two suppliers, so that’s your best bet to find something rare and specific. A little bit of research will go a long way.

What payment methods are offered by Iowa online casinos?

Casino sites in Iowa offer all the most popular payment options. The most common transaction method are, of course, credit and debit cards. Everyone has one, so it’s one of the easiest ways to register an account and start playing.

However, long waiting times and security issues have caused the popularity of card transfers to dwindle down significantly. Bank transfers are out of fashion, too.

Their place was taken by eWallets such as PayPal and Skrill, which pride themselves in providing supreme security solutions and various online shopping perks.

Cryptos are also sought after, mainly due to the fact that blockchain technology makes any virtual currency immune to data theft attempts.

How fast can I hope to see my withdrawal at Iowa casino sites?

Waiting times at Iowan online casinos don’t depend just on the payment method you’re using. In fact, a large majority of cases where players have to wait for a long time are due to the sites’ internal policies.

For instance, some casinos like to review registration requests extensively, while others request you to send a scan of any document that can confirm your name, SSN, and address.

When it comes to payment options, here’s the approximate ballpark for each transaction method that we mentioned previously:

• Credit/debit cards - up to 5 business days

• Bank transfers - up to 7 business days

• eWallets - instant

• Cryptos - 15-30 minutes

Fun Facts about Iowa

  • The bridges of Madison County are real, although the story from the book which inspired the famous Meryl Streep/Clint Eastwood movie is fictitious. Originally, there were 19 covered bridges across the scenic site in the 18th and 19th century. Today, only 6 remained. The Holliwell Bridge was prominently featured in the 1995 movie.
  • The legendary Star Trek Commander, Captain James T. Kirk, will be born in Riverside in Eastern Iowa in 2228. Residents and visitors to Riverside gladly celebrate his future birthday through June festivities and visits to the Star Trek Voyage Home Museum. There are several notable memorials in Iowa, originated from the fact that many important public figures were born in the Hawkeye State. For example, you can visit the John Wayne Birthplace and Museum or the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in Iowa.
  • Sliced bread was invented in IA. The bread-slicing machine was invented by Otto Frederick Rohwedder in Davenport. Rohwedder’s sliced bread first started selling in Missouri, but it was in Iowa where he conceived and popularized his machine. It’s not confirmed whether he had anything to do with the popular catchphrase ‘the greatest thing since sliced bread’.

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