The State of Online Gambling in Iowa in 2022


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The United States is one of the biggest gambling countries in the world. With cities like Las Vegas, Reno, and Atlantic City, many tourists from all around the globe flock to the United States to take part in its rich gambling culture. Of course, Las Vegas is always going to be known as the mecca of gambling for many avid gamblers. But the offerings from cities like Reno and Atlantic City are pretty formidable as well. On top of that, gambling is legal in almost every state in the U.S. and it won’t be hard for anyone to come across a fine gambling establishment that suits their needs. Whether it is USA online casinos or traditional land-based establishments, the industry is experiencing a massive boom in the aftermaths of the global pandemic.

Small-State Gambling

Even in states that aren’t as urbanized as the others, gambling is still a very rich and vibrant economic sector. This is true in states like Iowa that are largely seen as rural states that thrive on agriculture for economic growth. In fact, the gambling industry in Iowa is one of the most lucrative in the entire Upper Midwest. There are a number of different casino establishments that are incredibly diverse in terms of style and makeup. The state is filled with riverboat casinos that offer a very unique gambling experience. But there are also a lot of upscale hotel and casino complexes scattered around the area.

The Prarie Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Iowa is a hotbed for gamblers from all over the state. They have a thoroughbred racetrack which Iowan horseracing patrons have been visiting since 1984. In 2004, the venue started adding traditional casino games and slot machines to its portfolio. Horseracing season takes place from April to October. But the casino games are still able to draw a crowd even when horseracing is in its offseason. As of now, there are 2000 gaming machines and 44 table games at the Casino. 

The state is also home to a number of tribal casinos, namely the Blackbird Bend Casino, Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel, Prairie Flower Casino, and WinnaVegas Casino Resort.

The first riverboat casinos in Iowa opened back in 1991. There were four boats that were given licenses to operate. Now, the state is filled with all sorts of casino establishments that serve every kind of gambler imaginable.

Regulations and Governing Bodies

The Iowa Gaming Association is the institution that is in charge of regulating the gambling activities that take place in the state. One of the biggest advocacies of the body is to help people who are going through gambling problems via a self-exclusion program. By enrolling in this program, the Iowa Gaming Association will stop enrollees from entering any land-based or riverboat casino establishments.

In 2004, an amendment was passed that required riverboat casinos to be removed from the statutes. This led to the proliferation of racetrack casinos and riverboats on a more equal footing. After almost 20 years, Iowa legislatures passed bill SF 617. This bill allowed for sports betting, both online and in real life. After that, the most significant piece of legislation to be passed in recent memory was HF 2497 that was only passed in 2022. This measure allowed for cashless wagers (using eWallets) to be integrated into Iowa’s 19 casinos.

What About Online Gambling?

The recent bill HF 2497 does not include any provisions for online casinos in Iowa. However, many Iowans are hopeful that the government will eventually tackle online gambling, especially since the legalization of online sports betting. For now, Iowans can enjoy casino slots and some table games via sweepstakes casinos. Some of the most prominent brands that are available to Iowans include Chumba Casino and LuckyLand Slots. There are also no laws barring Iowans from accessing offshore casino sites.


Ultimately, Iowa seems to have exhibited some signs of growth and progressiveness when it comes to gambling in general. However, there’s still a long way to go for the state to catch up with the rest of the world. Online gambling is continuing to sweep the globe and many governments are trying their hardest to catch up and maintain relevance in terms of their legislation and regulation of these digital gambling platforms.