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Iowa Gambling Laws

Heading out to play the ponies at Prairie Meadows? Or hosting some buddies and beers on poker night? Whether you're betting $20 at a black jack table, or tossing it into your office March Madness pool and hoping the Hawkeyes make the Sweet Sixteen, Iowa's gambling and gaming statutes cover a variety of activities. This is an introduction to gambling laws in Iowa.

Gaming Law in Iowa

Iowa's gaming laws define illegal gambling as participating "in a game for anything of value or making any bet," yet the state does permit horse and dog racing, as well as excursion boat gambling and gaming in casinos on Indian reservations. So it can be difficult to distinguish what's covered under state gaming statutes.

Iowa Gambling Statutes

The chart below lists details of Iowa’s gambling statutes.

Code Section

Iowa Code 99, et seq.; Houses Used for Gambling

Iowa Code 725.5 et seq.: Gaming and Betting

Gambling

Participating in a game for anything of value or making any bet.

Horse Racing/Off-Track Betting

Horse racing legal. Licensees may simultaneously telecast out-of-state races within racetrack for purpose of pari-mutuel wagering.

Dog Racing/Off-Track Betting

Dog racing legal. Licensees may simultaneously telecast out-of-state races within racetrack for purpose of pari-mutuel wagering.

Casinos Allowed?

Excursion boat gambling, including coin-operated games legal. Gambling on land prohibited except for on Indian reservations.

Other Kinds of Gambling-Related Activities Allowed or Banned

Bookmaking; card counting; pyramid games illegal. Raffles not exceeding $200 in value; bingo legal. Any adult may hold an annual game night with a license, if no consideration is involved except goodwill. Social gambling allowed. No fighting or baiting any bull, bear, dog or cock.

State gambling and gaming statutes can cover everything from pari-mutuel betting to state lotteries. These laws can also set forth the government divisions or gaming commissions that will regulate gaming industry practices, such as employee licensing, game parameters, and taxes. Federal law also plays its part in regulating gambling in the state: the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, controls all gaming establishments on Indian reservations. All of Iowa's casinos are on Indian reservations.

Iowa Gambling Laws: Related Resources

As noted above, state gambling and gaming laws regulate a multitude of activities and can be confusing. You can find additional articles and resources on this topic in FindLaw's section on Gaming Law. You can also consult with an Iowa gaming law attorney if you would like legal advice regarding a gaming issue.

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