Check out our list of the very best Iowa online casinos below. You can also find our list of the best Iowa sportsbooks here.
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Online casinos have become much more well-known and accepted in the last couple of years. This led to many new players showing interest in online casino games. However, there are thousands of online casinos, all competing for new players. This means it’s often difficult to know which online casinos are reliable and trustworthy.
While there are some sketchy gambling service providers, many offer legit services and an excellent gaming experience. We dove into the fray and looked at various aspects of these casinos to compile a list of the best Iowa online casinos. We looked at their licensing, security and fairness, compatibility, games, bonuses, and banking methods. But first, is online gambling legal in Iowa?
Gambling Laws in Iowa
While Iowa has a long history with gambling, it is by no means uncomplicated. Several state laws surround gambling, both at land-based establishments and Iowa online casinos. However, three federal laws influenced Iowa’s gambling laws significantly. These are the Federal Interstate Wire Act of 1961, the PASPA of 1992, and the UIGEA of 2006.
The Interstate Wire Act is still relevant today and bans interstate sports betting. However, it does not ban sports betting itself, and the law doesn’t mention any other forms of gambling. There have been numerous court cases surrounding this issue, but the supreme court hasn’t resolved it to date.
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act is a law that influenced gambling history but is not relevant today still. Before the supreme court declared it unconstitutional in 2018, this federal law banned sports betting. It was thus illegal to bet on sports anywhere in the USA, except in certain states.
The most recent federal law is the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, but this act also doesn’t ban online gambling. Instead, it states that financial transactions with online gambling providers are illegal. However, this law has received its fair share of criticism, as some casinos have managed to circumvent it. The law is also geared towards casinos making financial transactions, and no financial institution or player has been convicted using this law.
These laws have greatly influenced Iowa’s state laws surrounding gambling. While the state has a rich gambling history, this history mostly pertains to sports betting on horses and dogs. While all forms of gambling became illegal in 1846, the state gradually started legalizing certain forms of gambling in 1973, such as bingo and raffle tickets. In 1983, pari-mutuel bets were allowed on horse and dog races, which opened the way to legalize the state lottery in 1985.
After that, Iowa continued to allow more gambling at land-based establishments in a limited fashion, signing Tribal Gaming Compacts with several tribes. Slot machines became allowed at certain racetracks in 1994, with table games following in 2004. When PASPA was overturned in 2018, the state responded by legalizing sports betting in 2019. This is also where their stance towards online betting became known.
Online Gambling in Iowa
When the state of Iowa legalized sports betting in 2019, they had stated that in-person registration was still required. So even if bettors wanted to bet online, they had to register at a racetrack. In 2021, this practice was abolished. Bettors can now register online and bet online without ever visiting a land-based racetrack. However, this doesn’t mean that the state legalized Iowa real money online casinos.
Iowa still has a negative stance towards online casinos and continues to ban them. This means that no online gambling service providers are allowed to be established in Iowa nor keep their servers in the state. However, this law only mentions hosting online gambling providers in the state; it doesn’t specifically ban playing at online casinos. There are various offshore casinos available to Iowa residents. Furthermore, no individual has ever been accused or convicted for playing at an offshore online casino.
As such, though it’s a bit of a gray area, it’s not illegal for players to use offshore gambling providers, as long as their servers aren’t based in Iowa. This means there are still various options for players to enjoy. But with so many options, how do you know which is the best Iowa online casino?
Online Casinos in Iowa
Although Iowa cannot host any new online casinos at this moment in time, players can still enjoy playing at various offshore gambling service providers and land-based casinos. We took a look at the type of online casinos and land-based casinos offered.
Offshore Licensed Casinos
While seven states in the USA offer licenses for online gambling and casinos, Iowa is not one of them. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission hasn’t made any move toward legalizing Iowa online casinos or attempting to pass a bill to legalize them. However, that doesn’t mean Iowa players are out of luck.
Various offshore casinos offer their services to Iowa players. An offshore casino refers to a casino that holds a license from a different country, i.e., an offshore license. The licenses most frequently found are the Curacao, Malta, Panama, Gibraltar, and Costa Rica licenses.
There are several land-based casinos available to Iowa residents. Of the 23 available casinos, four are owned by different tribes, the rest being state-owned. The four tribes who own casinos are Mississippi’s Fox and Sac Tribe and Nebraska’s Ponca, Omaha and Winnebago tribes. Under strict management, brick-and-mortar casinos are allowed in Iowa and offer anything from sports betting at racetracks to slots and table games.
Many believe that Iowa’s positive stance on land-based casinos will mean more hope when it comes to Iowa online casinos. However, so far, no effort has been made to pass a bill legalizing Iowa online casinos in the state.
Criteria of the Best Online Casinos
With hundreds of gambling providers available, it’s not easy to know which one to play at. We’ve done the research for you and looked in-depth at the casinos’ offering and services, from licensing and security to games and bonuses. Using these criteria, we compiled a list of the best online casinos in Iowa.
License, Security, and Fairness
Holding a license is important for any online casino, as it validates that they’re allowed to operate. Licensed casinos are also regulated by the independent authority that licenses them, ensuring they comply with all regulations and any applicable legislation. This is an extra layer of security, as players can also contact the independent authority to report an online casino if needed.
Besides being licensed, gambling providers use RNG (Random Number Generator) to ensure their games remain fair and random. This can be tested by using a testing agency, like eCORGA, which further validates the fairness of the casino. Online casinos also need to ensure they remain safe and secure from cyber-attacks. We look for casinos that use SSL encryption and other data protection services.
Online casinos are mostly web-based in today’s age. Though some casinos offer a mobile app or quick-access software, it’s not provided by all of them. We look for gambling service providers that are easily accessible on all devices, from your smartphone and tablet to your desktop. This includes all brands, from Mac and Windows to iOS and Android.
Not only should the online casino be compatible, but we also look for casinos with a user-friendly interface and an enjoyable gaming platform. This means using HTML5 elements and making it easy for players to navigate using navigation bars, provider filters, and a search bar. Being a mobile casino is a huge plus to players.
Games and Software
We always look at the game selection of online casinos, as we believe a bigger game selection is better. This means you have access to a wider variety of games and don’t have to sign up at multiple gambling service providers. We expect to find a variety of slots and table games, as well as a live casino and a sportsbook for some casinos. Slots sites are always a winner with casino players.
Slots are some of the online gamers’ favorite games. There are thousands available, from big names like Microgaming and Betsoft to newly released slots. There is something for everyone to enjoy, from classic and video slots to 3D and 5-reel slots. The most popular table games that casinos offer are Poker, Blackjack, Baccarat, Roulette, and Craps, though several others are available.
We also appreciate it if the online casino offers a live casino section and a sportsbook. Live casinos are the best way to bridge the gap between online gambling and gambling at a land-based establishment, so we always look for it. If the casino offers a sportsbook as well, it’s even better, as you don’t need to look far to fulfill all your needs.
Arguably one of the favorite aspects of online casinos is their bonuses. Casino bonuses act as incentives in the fierce competition that rages between gambling providers, encouraging players to sign up with them. There are multiple types of bonuses, with the welcome bonus the first introduction to a casino’s promotions.
The welcome bonus can either be a first deposit or a no deposit bonus. The first deposit bonus gives a match bonus between 100% and 500% and means you can often get up to $3000 extra bonus funds. No deposit bonuses tend to be smaller, as it doesn’t require a deposit from players. You can receive between $5 and $25 usually, and it has higher wagering requirements than first deposit bonuses might have. Free spins can also sometimes be given as a no deposit bonus or as an added incentive in a first deposit bonus.
We also look for any other bonuses the casino offers, like a VIP casino program, monthly bonuses, or cashback. This means the casinos look after their players, and you will always have some bonus to keep the gaming platform interesting.
When researching the bonuses, we also consider what restrictions the casino imposes on them. The restrictions can range from wagering requirements and a minimum deposit to a winnings cap and expiry period. Wagering requirements are usually between 25x and 35x, with anything above 40x considered high. The standard minimum deposit is $10, and the standard winnings cap is $100. Welcome bonuses usually have a week to two weeks expiry period, though other bonuses can have a longer or shorter period depending on the bonus.
When playing with real money, it’s crucial to have a variety of payment methods available to you. The Federal Wire Act sometimes complicates matters, as there are financial institutes that prohibit online transactions with gambling service providers, regardless of whether it’s legal in the state or not. This means you sometimes can’t use your card or online banking to make a transaction.
That’s where middleman payment methods come in. PayPal is a popular payment method in the USA and is one of the best to be offered by online casinos, with PayPal casino sites being lucrative in that sense. However, not all gambling service providers provide PayPal, but this doesn’t mean that no other methods are offered. There are various e-wallets that most online casinos use, like Neteller, Skrill, EcoPayz, Paysafecard and MuchBetter.
Despite the difficulties that can arise with certain card companies, most online gambling providers do accept Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, and Discovery cards. Online banking like Trustly, iDebit, etc., are also available. The online gambling service provider shouldn’t charge any transaction fees, or if they do, the fees should be low. Cryptocurrencies are especially popular amongst offshore casinos, with Bitcoin casinos being a particularly common feature in that world.
The last aspect we look at is the withdrawal times of a gambling service provider. There’s nothing worse than waiting and waiting for your withdrawal, so we check to see what their average payout speed is. The standard industry for payout speeds is 24 hours for cryptocurrencies and one to three days for e-wallets. Cards take between three and five days, while bank transfers generally take between five and seven days.
Iowa Online Casinos
To recap, we looked at Iowa’s laws on gambling. Although they allow land-based gambling establishments, online gambling is still limited to sports betting in the state. However, there is no law against players using offshore casinos. Thus online gambling is still allowed as long as the casino’s servers aren’t located in Iowa. We looked at various aspects of gambling service providers, such as their security, compatibility, games, bonuses, and banking. This allowed us to conduct a comprehensive review of the online casinos in Iowa.
Using the data gathered from our in-depth investigation, we compiled a list of the best Iowa online casinos for you. Signing up at one of these casinos is as easy as looking at our list and selecting the online casino that fits you. You can sign up using the “Register” or “Sign Up” button on the casino’s website and input your personal details when asked. Most gambling service providers require some form of verification either before claiming the bonus or before withdrawing, so keep that in mind when you start playing.
Now that you’ve signed up at one of the casinos on our list of the best Iowa online casinos, you can claim your bonus and start spinning those reels.