Iowa on Thursday became the first Midwestern state to go live with sports betting, when sportsbooks across the state held celebrations and the first bets were placed.
Among the launches were four William Hill sportsbooks — at the Lakeside Casino & Hotel, Isle of Capri Bettendorf, Isle of Capri Waterloo, and Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino. BetWorks also launched three properties. Iowa has 19 casinos, and according to the local ABC affiliate, 14 were set to go live Thursday. Eighteen casinos are licensed for sports betting.
At Prairie Meadows’ new sportsbook, seven stakeholders, including Senators Jack Whitver and Tony Bisigano, used giant scissors to cut an oversized ribbon at the strike of noon, local time. Immediately after, Whitver and Bisigano, key sponsors of Iowa’s sports betting legislation, made the first bets. Whitver bet Iowa State to beat Iowa in the state’s Big Game on September 14, while Bisigano, decked out in a New York Yankees jersey, placed two bets on the Bronx Bombers — one to win, and a second on an under of 11 runs.
Mobile and physical sportsbooks launch
The ribbon has been cut… pic.twitter.com/H16zoRznlQ
— Ian Richardson (@DMRIanR) August 15, 2019
The launch was for both physical and mobile sportsbooks, and William Hill, BetWorks, and PointsBet all planned mobile launches for Thursday, as well, according to a source. Iowa does require in-person registration for the use of mobile apps. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission allowed in-person registration at approved sportsbooks to begin Tuesday. The in-person registration requirement expires on Jan. 1, 2021.
Iowa became the 11th state, including Nevada, to offer live sports betting, and the first this year to launch sports betting statewide. In July, Arkansas launched sports betting at two racetracks, and four upstate New York casinos began offering sports betting. Neither state has a mobile piece, as yet. With the launch, the Hawkeye State beat Indiana, which legalized in early May, and Illinois, which legalized in late June, to the punch.
NOW: As of 4pm Thursday, sports betting is now legal in Iowa.
Ameristar Casino in Council Bluffs is celebrating with a VIP reception in their new sports betting facility.
Former NFL player Tim Dwight is seen here placing the first wager.
— DaLaun Dillard (@DDillardTV) August 15, 2019
Iowa law allows sports betting on professional and college sports, but does not allow prop bets on colleges, making it one of only a handful of states to prohibit those prop bets. Sportsbooks will be taxed at a rate of 7.5%.
The big get for Iowa by launching early is the mobile piece — bettors must be located in Iowa at the time they place a bet, but don’t have to be residents of the state. What that means is that residents of Iowa’s seven border states — in particular, Illinois — can drive over the border and place sports bets in time for the college football season.