Iowa has begun its sportsbook business with all kinds of fanfare. While some states only have sportsbooks available in casinos or racetracks, Iowa has sportsbooks online. Since last month, the Grand Falls Casino in Larchwood has offered both mobile and online gambling. It also now offers on-site gambling. Grand Falls Casino is one of the first casinos in Iowa to debut sportsbooks.
Sports Gambling in Iowa
Iowa was the 11th state in the United States to legalize sports gambling. It is also the third state to legalize gambling this year. It is the first state in the northern Midwest to legalize gambling. The other states that have legalized gambling are scattered throughout the East, Midwest, and South. To get a license to add sportsbooks, casinos have to pay an initial application fee of $45,000. Then, they must pay an annual fee of $10,000. The casinos also have to pay 6.75 percent on their revenue. In addition, the sportsbooks have to pay integrity fees to the state. The state is buying integrity software to monitor betting integrity.
There are 19 commercially owned casinos in Iowa and five Native American casinos. Currently, all the casinos in Iowa are going to allow sportsbooks. There is one exception, however. The Casino Queen in Marquette decided not to apply for a sportsbook right now. Fifteen of the casinos are going to launch mobile and online versions of their sportsbooks as well.
The Grand Falls Casino launched its online and on-site sportsbook on Aug.15. Elite Sportsbook is the name of its new gambling venture. Bet.Works, a firm based in Las Vegas, developed the sportsbook. Bet.Works specializes in web-based gaming software and web-based platforms for gaming, as well as gaming apps. The on-site version of Elite Sportsbook launched a couple of days later.
On the Elite Sportsbook, gamblers can place their wagers on a variety of professional and college sports. Bettors can bet on football, baseball, soccer, and basketball. They can bet on college teams or professional teams, as long as the teams are not in Iowa. Gamblers also have to have an Internet connection or a wireless device. They have to be in Iowa as well. The casino is ensuring gamblers are in Iowa by installing geolocation devices.
The Grand Falls Casino has a website available for customers to sign in, fund a betting account, and place bets. There has to be a customer account for the gambler to begin gambling. The casino is in the far north of the state, near the state line with South Dakota. Once it became clear the bill in the Iowa Legislature would pass, the casino began getting ready for sports betting. It launched a $10 million renovation to be ready for sports gambling.
The casino hoped to open both of its on-site and online sportsbooks simultaneously. While the online and mobile sportsbooks were ready, and the state had approved them, the on-site sportsbook was not. Its contractor was not ready. Betfred, a U.K. company, won the license to operate the on-site sportsbook. It was late in applying for a license, and the state needs several days to approve it. The casino has paired up with Elite Sportsbook. That way customers on-site and online can gamble at the same time. For now, the sportsbook is sitting in the VIP area between the poker and high-stakes rooms. The casino appears to be ready to take on bettors, whether on-site or online, to bet on sports. The timing couldn’t be better since the NFL season opened right after Labor Day.
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