Iowa Set to Launch Sports Betting This Week, Casinos Ready for Wagers
In May, Iowa’s sports betting bill was officially signed by Governor Reynolds signaling that the state was about to join a new movement spreading across the country. However, the bill didn’t go into effect until July 1st. From there, the Iowa State Gaming Commission pushed full steam ahead to get the new regulations and platform rolled out as quickly as possible. The initial goal was to have it up and running by football season.
After the gaming commission approved the new rules late last month, a soft release date was set for August 15th. With just a few days until the proposed release date, gaming officials have now confirmed that multiple casinos will indeed launch sports betting on Thursday, August 15th, to the delight of sports betting proponents throughout the state.
Iowa Wins the Race in the Midwest
In addition to ushering in a new era of revenue, gaming, and entertainment, Iowa will also become the first Midwestern state to allow legal sports bets. Other states like Illinois and Indiana have passed legislation, but are slowly making progress towards a release date. Becoming the first state within this region to allow sports wagers will give Iowa an advantage over its neighbors.
Currently, there are a few prominent casinos set to take sports bets on Thursday.
Ameristar Casino Council Bluffs
The America Casino, located in Council Bluffs, Iowa, will unveil their sportsbook in the newly renovated Amerisports Bar and Grill. The casino partnered up with Penn National for a state-of-the-art sports betting experience. Timothy J. Wilmott, CEO of Penn National, commented on Iowa’s venture into sports betting:
“Iowa is poised to become the first Midwestern state to offer sports wagering since the federal ban was repealed last year. We appreciate the diligence of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission that will allow us to begin offering this great new amenity at Ameristar Casino Council Bluffs prior to the kickoff of football season.”
Former Iowa Hawkeyes great, and NFL football player, Tim Dwight will place the first wager at the Ameristar on Thursday.
Lakeside Hotel and Casino
Located in Osceola, the Lakeside Hotel and Casino will partner up with William Hill to release a first class sportsbook this week. David Monroe GM of Lakeside discussed the excitement of this partnership:
“Our new sports book will provide the highest level of entertainment and customer service in Iowa. We are excited to partner with William Hill and take the sports betting experience to the next level.”
Lakeside is owned by Affinity Gaming, which operates a total of 11 casinos throughout the Midwest and Nevada. The new sportsbook will feature 14 top of the line 65-inch TVs, two 86-inch monitors, and plenty of comfort. World War II veteran Joseph Reynolds will place the ceremonial first bet on Thursday.
Prairie Meadows in Altoona
Located in the Des Moines metropolitan region is the Prairie Meadows casino. It’s been Iowa’s hub for horse racing and aims to become the main source for sports betting in this part of the state. Prairie Meadows had already laid the foundations for an 8,600-square foot sportsbook and had been waiting for the state’s gaming commission to set a launch date.
Like with Lakeside, the Prairie Meadows casino will also partner with William Hill to operate their new sportsbook. Casino officials believe that they will attract sports bettors with a Las-Vegas style sportsbook that features a bar, a wall of TVs, and other amenities.
Riverside Casino and Golf Resort
Last year, the Riverside Casino spent $10 million on renovating their property with the hopes of sports betting becoming legal. The casino opened their Draft Day Sports Lounge to attract gamblers and sports enthusiasts with an eye on potentially opening a sportsbook in the future. Riverside’s wager on sports betting will pay off in a big way as they join a short list of casinos set to launch on August 15th.
ELITE Sportsbook will take their first wagers at 4 PM local time, which is four hours later than other casinos. The goal was to ensure that their launch didn’t overlap with a sister casino. Riverside partnered with BetWorks to run the sportsbook and handle the technology behind sports betting.
More Casinos Set to Follow
As the state’s legal launch date draws near, more casinos are announcing plans for their respective sports betting services. Some casinos will aim to launch on August 15th, while others aim to open up by the beginning of the NFL season on September 5th.
It’s expected that all of the state’s casinos will eventually apply for sports betting licenses and launch their respective platforms this year. Currently, casinos will have to pay a $45,000 fee for sports betting licenses. There’s an annual renewal fee for licenses at a rate of $10,000. The state will charge a 6.75% tax on the casino’s sports betting revenue.
What About Mobile Betting?
Iowa’s sports betting bill allows for mobile sports betting apps. However, residents will have to register for a mobile account at an approved casino in order to place online wagers. This part of the law remains in effect until January 1st, 2021. All mobile sports betting apps will be geofenced, which means that only residents of Iowa can use them.
One caveat to Iowa’s mobile betting is that each sports betting app must provide users with the ability to set limits for wagers, deposits, and time spent gambling. If a user wants to change these limits, there will also be a waiting period. This section of the law was designed to help curb gambling problems.
All mobile apps and casinos will take wagers on professional and collegiate sporting events. In-game wagers will also be allowed, provided that the casino and its associated mobile app offers them. No sports wagers will be allowed on schools located in Iowa.
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