Iowa Gambling Laws & Online Poker in Iowa

Iowa still doesn’t have any online poker legislation in place.  However, changes have been discussed and there could be progress made in the next couple of years.

Type/Code Summary
State Code Section(s) III.99A-G; XVI.725.5-19
Legal Definitions Gambling: Any activity where a person risks something of value or other consideration for a chance to win a prize.

Game of chance: a game whereby the result is determined by chance and the player in order to win completes activities, such as aligning objects or balls in a prescribed pattern or order or makes certain color patterns appear; specifically includes but is not limited to bingo.

Game of skill: a game whereby the result is determined by the player’s ability to do a task, such as directing or throwing objects to designated areas or targets, or by maneuvering water or an object into a designated area, or by maneuvering a dragline device to pick up particular items, or by shooting a gun or rifle.

Legal social gambling: A person shall not receive or have any fixed or contingent right to receive, directly or indirectly, any amount wagered or bet or any portion of amounts wagered or bet, except an amount which the person wins as a participant while playing on the same basis as every other participant.

Online Poker/Gambling There were online poker and casino games bills presented to lawmakers in 2012 and 2013, the first in 2012 winning a Senate vote but not prompting a House vote. The 2014 CEO of the Iowa Gaming Association planned to watch other states that legalized internet games before moving another bill but has yet to do so.
Live Poker There are live poker rooms in riverboat casinos and those in Native American-run casinos, as well as at some racetracks converted to racinos.
Casinos Riverboat casinos were legalized in 1991, and three Indian tribes were allowed to build their own casinos per the 1988 federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Racetracks were also permitted to install slot machines and table games in order to compete with other gambling facilities.
Sports Betting A bill is under consideration to allow sports betting in currently-established casinos, but it did not come up for a vote in 2018.
DFS A 2017 bill to legalize daily fantasy sports carried into 2018 but never made enough progress to be considered for a vote.
Other Forms of Gambling Horse and dog racing, pari-mutuel betting, bingo, raffles not exceeding $200, social gambling not exceeding $200, charitable gambling.