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Iowa Becomes 11th State To Launch Sports Betting


Six Iowa casinos began taking sports bets at noon Thursday with more casinos on-deck awaiting approval by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

Officials said possibly two more casino could be taking bets by the end of the day.

Prairie Meadows (Altoona), Isle of Capri (Bettendorf), Lakeside Hotel & Casino (Osceola) and Isle of Capri (Waterloo) are offering both on-site and mobile betting.

Catfish Bend (Burlington) Burlington and Ameristar Casino (Council Bluffs) has on-site wagering only with mobile becoming available to bettor in a few days or weeks.

Iowa is the 11th state in the nation to offer legal sports wagering and is the first in the Midwest. Indiana is poised to follow suit in early September with Illinois still getting its ducks in a row with no firm timeline to begin taking wagers.

Iowa officials met an ambitious timeline to have betting available just three months after Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the measure into law.

“The last few days have been a flurry to finalize a number of controls and questions that were still outstanding,” Iowa Racing and Gaming administrator Brian Ohorilko told Radio Iowa.

He said he expects the remaining casinos to be open in time for the start of the NFL season on Sept. 5

Bettors in Iowa can wager on professional, collegiate and international sporting events.

Among the first bettors at Prairie Meadows, which launched betting with the William Hill sportsbook, were state Sen. Jack Whitver and Tony Bisgnano.

Bisgnano, who wore a N.Y. Yankees jersey to the ribbon cutting place a bet on todays game against the Cleveland Indians.

Whitver stayed local, picking Iowa State over Iowa who play on Sept. 14.

Joe Asher, the CEO of William Hill, also was in attendance for the launch. He told the Des Moines Register that the sportsbook was still in the process of getting its mobile app into the app store.

Asher said he expects the app to be available on Android late Thursday or early tomorrow. The William Hill app for Apple should be available in two weeks.

Bettors will need to register at a casino before they can place a wager.

Ohorilko said William Hill was approved as the sportsbook operator at four Iowa casinos: Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino (Altoona), Lakeside Hotel & Casino (Osceola), Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo and Isle Casino Hotel Bettendorf.

Three casinos, Riverside, Rhythm City (Davenport) and Grand Falls Casino & Resort (Larchwood) will offer Bet.Works sports betting app.

As more casinos come on board, Ohoriko said the racing and gaming board would step back and leave the operation of sportsbooks to the casinos and their partners.

“We’ll be looking at if revenue is being reported accurately from a tax standpoint. We’ll be looking at any type of activity that is reported with respect to suspicious betting patterns and trying to run those down,” Ohoriko told Radio Iowa.