Iowa Sports Betting Launches August 15
Fifteen of Iowa's 18 casinos are finalizing their new sportsbooks following approval of emergency rules and receiving licenses from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. IRGC Administrator Brian Ohorilko (l.) says the first bets can be taken at 12 noon on August 15. Mobile and online wagering will be offered in the near future. The IRGC also approved daily fantasy sports.
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission recently approved emergency rules for sports betting and granted sports betting licenses to 18 casinos. The first sports wagers can be accepted at 12 noon on Thursday, August 15.
IRGC Administrator Brian Ohorilko said, “I think the majority of casinos in Iowa will have their brick-and-mortar operations ready to roll on August 15. It may not be expansive sports betting. For some, it may be a situation where they have kiosks and a few tellers, but it looks like many of them are planning on having something ready on that first day.”
Currently, Ohorilko said IRGC staff is meeting with each licensed casino to review the controls they have in place to provide protective measures, like verifying individuals are of legal age and reporting unusual wagering activity.
He added that 15 of the 18 casinos likely will offer mobile wagering in the near future. Their online operators’ controls also are being reviewed as part of the licensing process, and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation is checking their credentials before they can receive conditional mobile sports wagering licenses. Bettors will have to register on-site before they can place wagers online or on mobile phones.
At Riverside Casino & Resort, the Elite Sportsbook is nearly ready for wagerers, General Manager Dan Franz said. “We did a big renovation last year, the whole property, and this part of the property in particular was a place that we renovated somewhat with sports wagering in mind. What we need to do now is put in some TVs, some point-of-sales. We need to put in some kiosks and to hire a few people.”
He added, “People will come that maybe haven’t come down here in the past, and a different type of a market that’s going to come here and watch sports.”
Great River Entertainment Vice President of Operations Rob Higgins said the sportsbook at Catfish Bend Casino in Burlington will be ready for wagers on the 15th. The primary task, he said, is “getting the word out, making sure that people know they can come down here and take a look at it. And this is just another amenity to our fabulous facility with our existing casino and all of our entertainment.”
Renovations are continuing at Wild Rose Entertainment’s three Iowa casinos in Clinton, Emmetsburg and Jefferson, said Wild Rose Entertainment President and Chief Operating Officer Tom Timmons.
“Our customers have told us repeatedly that they want sports wagering. While this is new to Wild Rose and the state, it’s a natural next step in expanding our entertainment menu. I’ve been involved in Iowa gaming since 1989, and this is one of the biggest changes in 30 years.”
In addition to sports betting, the IRGC also approved daily fantasy sports rules and regulations. Ohorilko said DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo! Sports have applied for DFS licenses.