Iowans enjoy a good game of poker when they can. It can be surprising how much gambling goes on in Iowa because of how proactive the state is in regulating and legalizing gambling activities. This can be seen by the swift passage of the sports betting bill, in which legalization happened in May 2019 and by August 2019, it went live. Iowa was one of the early proponents of online poker as far back as 2012, but it did not see the light of day at the time. The law regarding online poker in Iowa is not entirely clear-cut but will be discussed in detail further in the article.
Brief History of Poker in Iowa
May of 1983 ushered in the start of gambling in Iowa after the Iowa Legislature passed the Pari-Mutuel Wagering Act, which was signed into law by the Governor on July 1, 1983. From this period, several race gambling institutions were given licenses to operate. Iowa did not witness its first casino up until April 1, 1991, where three riverboat casinos were opened. These three riverboats were the Dubuque Casino Belle, The President in Dubuque, and the Diamond Lady in Bettendorf, making Iowa the first state in the US to legalize riverboat gambling.
Quickly after, the Emerald Lady in Burlington was launched on the 10th day of May 1991. Since then, licenses have been given to several land-based casinos in the state bringing the total to about 20.
The Legality of Poker in Iowa
Poker gambling has been legal in Iowa since July 1st, 1983. Nearly all types of gambling are allowed in this state, and the definition of gambling in the state is pretty straightforward – “participating in any game for anything of value.” This definition is different from that of other American states because it does not include the term “chance”, which is present in other states’ definitions. However, this legality does not apply to online poker.
State officials in Iowa have considered the idea of regulated online poker in the state on three different occasions, but all ended with the same result – failure to pass the bill. That said, it is worthy to note that not a single piece of language in the state of Iowa’s penal code addresses online poker gambling. What this means is that players can go about their online poker gambling without the fear of interference or blowback from the state government. Whatever restrictions faced in the state regarding online poker are only those imposed by the federal government.
The state of Iowa has 20 poker rooms but we will run through a few. All of these casinos have their offerings and tables available so you will need to make a choice based on the features that interest you the most.
The Horseshoe Casino Council Bluffs
This casino is situated at Council Bluffs, Iowa, and offers 18 tables with the best of Omaha, Texas Hold’Em, and Omaha Bad beat Jackpot. The casino is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to everyone interested in playing a game of poker. If you can manage to play for at least 20 hours a week, you will get $12 in comps. This is facilitated by the Total Rewards Program, where you can earn 50 cents every hour you play. Depending on the day you choose to play, you should note that the buy-in will range from $55 to $250. You will have a shot at tournaments organized by the casino every other day except on Thursdays and Fridays. The ambiance is very cool, with classical design, but does not support smoking.
Wild Rose Casino
Located at Clinton, Iowa, this casino only opens on Fridays and Saturdays from 6:30 pm. For those that prefer SNGs, this will be a good spot for you. There is only one table available in this casino and it all boils down to luck when it comes to the type of players you will meet at the table. Wild Rose also offers rewards in comps based on your play which is earned through the Wild Times Club reward program. Kindly note that no tournament is offered at the Wild Rose casino.
Online Poker Sites
As stated earlier, there are no state restrictions or regulations on online poker, so Iowans are free to play as they like. Here are a few top sites that players can visit for an amazing poker gaming experience.
In the United States, this is the biggest site that accommodates online poker. You get a 100% initial deposit bonus which can be used at all tables which run all hours of the day. Privacy is a standout feature here, as each player is identified strictly by their player number that is created randomly. Also, these numbers change after every game and table, which ensures that no professional player can track and target another player using the site. This singular feature goes a long way in guaranteeing better game quality. You can also play from all mobile devices and desktops.
This is also a very reputable American poker site that has been in operation for over 20 years. They offer ’round the clock customer service just in case you have any hitch as you play any of their soft games. They are ranked number three in the USA based on traffic, and are licensed by the Panama Gaming Commission. BetOnline also offers a 100% initial deposit bonus of up to $1,000. You also get more options for funding your account as BetOnline accepts cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Online poker is not regulated in the state of Iowa and can be enjoyed without any worry of penalty. This is great for individuals who would like a chance to win some money or simply have some fun at a poker table without leaving the house.