Iowa is a state that allows a lot of different types of gambling, but it also has strict rules and regulations designed to clearly distinguish what can and cannot be done. Moreover, Iowa also has regulations that differentiate between misdemeanor levels, so there’s not too much space for individual interpretation of the law.
When it comes to online gambling, the situation is slightly different, as this activity has not been mentioned specifically in any of the books. To learn more about Iowa gambling laws, check out the text below.
Iowa laws define illegal gambling activities as taking part in “a game for anything of value or making any bet.” On the other hand, several activities like greyhound and horse racing, excursion boat gambling, and playing games in casinos located on Indian reservations are officially allowed by the very same laws.
Considering that these activities include making bets and taking part in games by offering money, Iowa laws can leave us in ambiguity.
Nevertheless, since Iowa statutes, particularly Iowa Code 99, et seq (Houses Used for Gambling) and Iowa Code 725.5 et seq (Gaming and Betting), clearly define what games can be legally played in the state, players from Iowa can participate in those games without any concerns.
Furthermore, these two statutes also mention the games that are deemed illegal, and those include gambling on the state’s land (except for Indian reservations), bookmaking, card counting, and pyramid games.
On top of that, there are federal laws that can shape Iowa’s gambling scene as they see fit. In particular, all gaming activities in Tribal casinos are regulated by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
Now, let’s take a more detailed look at the parts of the Iowa laws that address specific gambling activities.
Iowa’s statutes are pretty much straightforward when it comes to crossing a line between allowed and prohibited gambling activities. To be more precise, this is what Iowa Code Chapter 725/Section 725.7 states:
“Except as permitted in chapters 99B and 99D, a person shall not do any of the following:
To further clarify this excerpt, section 99B regulates pari-mutuel betting, while section 99D deals with social and charitable gambling. In other words, if you take part in any other game that is not allowed by the state, you will be breaking the law.
Moreover, Iowa laws don’t only define what gambling activities are considered legal. The same statutes contain the information about the penalties in case you participate in any game that is not officially allowed.
The penalties differ depending on the wagered amount and prior convictions. For example, if participating in illegal gambling is your first offense, that’s a small misdemeanor and the penalty won’t go over $100. However, if breaking the law becomes consistent, the penalty can go over $5,000.
So, to be quite clear what you can and cannot do when it comes to gambling in Iowa, let’s take a look at gambling activities that are allowed in the Hawkeye State.
Even though the penalty laws might scare you a bit, there’s no reason for that, since Iowa said yes to many gambling forms so far.
Everything started with horse and greyhound racing in 1983. These were the first forms of gambling legalized in Iowa, and the referendum passed by a landslide surprised many.
A few years later, in 1989, the bill for riverboat gambling was passed and accepted by eight Iowa counties, making riverboat casinos legal in the state. This form of gambling is outdated now, but at the time of its legislation, it was the only way players from Iowa could participate in casino games.
At the end of the 90s and the beginning of the 2000s, gambling regulations got looser, which resulted in opening land-based casinos on Indian reservations. These casinos now feature all the standard casino games — slots, poker, table games, bingo, and sports betting, which is quite unusual for US states in general.
Charity raffles and lottery games are also permitted, as well as betting on fantasy sports. Finally, Iowa gave a green light to social gaming as well, but it limited the stakes at $50 per 24 hours.
No laws in Iowa clearly mention online gambling as an illegal activity, no matter the type. After carefully examining the laws, no explicit statement of prohibition was found. However, the law does say that taking part in unregulated types of gambling can cause problems.
Once again, let’s take a look at Section 725.1 (1) which states that a person cannot ‘’for a fee, directly or indirectly, give or accept anything of value to be wagered…within or without the state of Iowa.’’ Based on this, even online gambling on offshore sites could be considered illegal.
However, there have been no cases wherein a player from Iowa was legally prosecuted for online gambling, which again places the activity in the so-called grey area. If you are up for taking chances, remember that the first two offenses are considered a light misdemeanor.
When in Iowa, you can buy bingo tickets and lottery tickets all over the state. Speaking of casino gambling, it is available and can be found in establishments on tribal lands that don’t differ much from the standard land-based casinos you can find in Las Vegas. Some of the best-rated places are described below.
Located at 1 Prairie Meadows Dr, Altoona, IA 50009, Prairie Meadows Casino offers almost every game you can think of packed in more than 85,000 square feet of space. The casino action doesn’t stop here, allowing players to indulge in all their favorite table games, slots, and other games. On top of that, some very exciting promotions wait for you there, as well as both smoking and nonsmoking sections for table games so that you can enjoy your visit, no matter your preference.
The same goes for slots, no matter if you prefer a traditional pull or the latest video models. In case you are more interested in wagering on live racing, simulcast racing, and sports, Prairie Meadows Casino has them as well. And in case you get tired of it all, there’s a hotel featuring nice relaxing activities to help you unwind.
Riverside Casino & Golf Resort was declared the best overall casino in Iowa. If you visit 3184 Hwy 22, Riverside, IA 52327, you will come across this true gambling paradise. It offers everything you can find in Las Vegas gambling establishments. All your favorite games are there, including slots, table games, poker tournaments, and more. The sportsbook is there, too, as well as the hotel, restaurants, spa, and golf course — basically, anything you might need for a spectacular gambling experience.
Feeling like you could use some rockstar treatment? In that case, you should not skip the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City, as it is an award-winning gaming destination where you can find more than 850 slot machines and over 20 table games. The Hard Rock Hotel is also a part of the complex, and it carries a label of an AAA Four Diamond-rated hotel, meaning you will definitely get spoilt in there. If you thought the sportsbook won’t be there, think again, because the casino has it in its offer and tends to provide very good odds. You can find this splendid gambling establishment at 111 3rd St, Sioux City, IA 51101, United States.
Yes. However, casinos in Iowa can only be established on riverboats and Indian reservations. Nevertheless, these establishments offer the same type of games you can find in regular brick-and-mortar casinos.
At the moment, it is considered illegal for gaming operators to run online poker sites. However, residents of Iowa can play poker at offshore sites.
Iowa State allows greyhound and horse racing and excursion boat gambling. There is also the gambling in Indian reservations that features all types of games common for commercial land-based casinos.
The legal gambling age for all Iowa casinos is 21, and 18 for bingo and pari-mutuel wagering.
Yes, they do. Blackjack, Texas Hold’em, Roulette, and Craps are among the most popular table games that can be found in riverboat casinos in Iowa.