Iowa Legal Online Gambling Guide For 2016

KansasKansas Iowa offers multiple gambling entertainment options to its residents and visitors, and has expressed significant interest in a state regulated online poker initiative. In addition, Iowa residents have access to legally licensed offshore gambling sites that welcome US players as customers. All in all, the state is rather gambling friendly in nature. Iowa legalized pari-mutuel wagering back in 1982 through the establishment of the state's Racing and Gaming commission and the passing of the Pari-Mutuel Waging Act. 1989 saw the state pass a law to allow riverboat gambling. Three years later, compacts were reached with the state's Native Indian tribes, permitting them to operate brick and mortar casinos. The casino industry really flourished and expanded in the late 90s when the state removed many of the cumbersome restrictions that were placed on casinos.

Online gambling has actually been a hot topic for Iowa since 2011, and continues to be an issue being actively discussed and dealt with by lawmakers. This guide will provide insight into how online gambling fits into Iowa gambling laws, and what it means to residents and visitors of the Hawkeye State. We will break it down for you by venue, including casino, poker and sportsbook gambling. Along with explaining the legalities of online gambling in Iowa, we will also provide information on navigating the nuances of the industry, as well as recommendations from professional online gamblers. It will be everything you need to make an informed decision about your involvement with Iowa online gambling entertainment.

Is Online Gambling Legal In Iowa?

Iowa has actually been pretty active in working towards the legalization of state licensed online poker. They have not reached their mark yet, but they are definitely interested. They do not show the same interest in online casino gambling however. Beginning in 2011 through to the present, the state remains focused towards legal online poker. You can read about the various pieces of legislation and their status in the section below.

As more regions embrace online gambling in its various forms, individual states will likely come under some pressure to follow suit by their residents and by lawmakers interested in the additional revenue that the state can realize through a regulated online gambling industry. Iowa is already very interested in state regulated online poker, and has significant support. While the Senate has passed several online poker bills already, the key will be getting a bill through the House, which has been the obstacle thus far. Once they are up and running with online poker, the financial incentives may even entice Iowans to embrace online casino gambling as well. It is a strong possibility and we are keeping a close watch on the state's progress. It is expected that Iowa will be offering online poker by 2017.

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Are Online Casinos Legal in Iowa?

At this time, Iowa has not legalized online casino gambling in the state. There has not been any real discussion in support of changing that. Lawmakers do not seem all that interested in establishing licensing for online casino gambling with their focus thus far being directed solely to establishing an online poker initiative. That being said, it is currently not legal to operate an online casino within the state's borders.

This does not mean however, that there are not any options for Iowans to enjoy legally sanctioned online casino gambling. There are a number of licensed, regulated and high quality online casinos that legally accept Iowa residents as customers. These businesses are regulated through a governing jurisdiction that is located outside of the United States and that has already legalized online casino gambling for their region. This allows them to provide their services to players around the world, including Iowa.

There are no state laws in Iowa that prevent citizens and visitors to the state from enjoying online gambling as long as the destination at which they are playing is licensed, regulated and legally sanctioned outside of the US. The US legal online casinos you see below all hold legitimate credentials for operating legally within the industry, and have each been vetted by our team of professional analysts and online gamblers. They also hold advanced security profiles and deliver the highest quality gambling experience to players.

Reputable Casino Sites That Accept Iowa Players

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Is Online Poker Legal in Iowa?

While state licensed online poker gambling is not quite up and running yet, proponents of the option have been hard at work in an attempt to make it a reality. Their efforts began in 2011 when the state legislature requested a report that covered the regulation of intrastate online poker. The report revealed a potential healthy boost to state coffers due to tax revenue associated with the initiative. In 2012, Senate File 2275 was passed by the Senate State Government Committee, allowing the state to issue licensed for real money online poker. The measure would only allow those companies that were in possession of a land casino gambling licensed to be eligible for the online poker license. The senate passed the bill, however the bill died that summer when the House refused to move on it.

In January 2013, the Senate Study Bill 1068 was introduced during the state's legislation session. Though the bill had support in the Senate, the House did not share that position and the bill died. Studies conducted by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission revealed that Iowa residents were participating in online poker through websites that were not regulated by the state. This verified that there is interest in the industry by the state's citizens, and a guaranteed player base if they can compete with the existing offshore poker sites.

Predictions by industry professionals see the state of Iowa offering state licensed online poker options to players by 2017. Should the intrastate initiative go smoothly once approved by lawmakers, we could see an interstate online poker partnership being established with other online gambling friendly states similar to the one between Nevada and Delaware. When it comes to online poker, its really a matter of 'when' rather than 'if'.

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Is Online Sports Betting Legal in Iowa?

Iowa residents are not going to find any type of state licensed sports betting options available to them. This is due to the fact that there are two US Federal laws that govern sportsbook gambling in the US, and combined, they effectively prohibit US based online sports betting across the nation. In addition, Iowa has a law in place which prohibits fantasy sports betting. It is safe to say that Iowa does not look upon sports related betting action as favorably as they do casino and poker gambling.

The Federal Wire Act makes it illegal to engage in US based online sportsbook gambling. The PASPA law makes US based sports betting illegal in all but four states: Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon. While its true that the state discourages fantasy betting, and the federal government prevents state licensed online and offline sports betting, this does not mean that Iowans are shut out from the sports betting action altogether. For the time being, we recommend that you steer clear of the fantasy sports websites until such time that Iowa warms up to that type of entertainment.

None of the state or federal laws mentioned above prohibit Iowa residents from enjoying online sports betting as long as the sportsbook at which you are betting is legally licensed, legitimately regulated and based outside of the United States. The USA friendly sportsbooks you see listed below all fall into this category, and have all been vetted by our team of analysts. You can bet on sports at any of these destinations without violating any state or federal laws.

Sports Betting Sites That Accept Iowa Players

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Iowa Gambling FAQ's

What is the difference between fantasy betting and offshore sports betting?

Fantasy betting is legal in the US (but not in Iowa), and allows fans to comprise their own sports teams using real players from the various professional leagues. You can then enter contests based on the collective performance of the players from team you create. Offshore sports betting is legal sportsbook gambling based on actual games, matches, races and contests. Most bets are based on the outcome of the game and the point spread where applicable, while prop bets and live betting allow you to bet on player performances and specific plays. Offshore sports betting is legal for Iowa residents at licensed and regulated online sportsbooks.

If Iowa prohibits fantasy sports betting, will I get arrested for participating in offshore sports betting?

As long as you limit your online sports betting to those offshore sportsbooks that are legally licensed and regulated, then you will not be in violation of any state laws. Offshore sportsbooks such as the ones listed in this guide do not offer fantasy betting, so you are not crossing any lines there. As long as you don't try to bet at sportsbooks that are not licensed and are not operating legally, then you will not be breaking any laws.

How safe is it to gamble online in Iowa?

As long as you restrict your Iowa online gambling to those destinations that have been fully vetted by professionals, then you are ensuring you reach safe and secure online gambling sites. The sites you see listed in this guide have all been evaluated by industry analysts for legitimacy, quality, security and reliability. All of them are legally sanctioned and regulated. Should you decide to visit random gambling sites that have not been given the thumbs up by professional online gambling experts, then you could definitely be placing your personal and financial information at risk.

What Is The Legal Gambling Age In Iowa?

Iowa has simplified the legal minimum gambling age rules by making it consistent across the board.  Where other states allow a lower minimum age for some venues, such as lottery, bingo and pari-mutuel wagering, the Hawkeye State has decided to keep it clean and simple.  Players must be a minimum of 21 years old in order to participate in any type of gambling entertainment in Iowa.  This requirement extends to online gambling at licensed offshore betting sites as well. 

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