Sports betting takes root in Iowa casinos

Published: Aug. 16, 2019 at 6:40 AM CDT
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Giant steps down the road from testing your luck on pickle tickets a new door opens for gaming options in the metro as sports betting moves toward the 24-hour mark in its new home at Iowa casinos.

Casinos across the state are officially welcoming sports betting and the crowds that’s expected to draw, especially as football season inches closer.

Right now at Ameristar, Nebraskans make up a majority of the people coming to gamble but that could all change. With Iowa leading the region in sports gambling, the casinos are banking of welcoming people from other states.

Ameristar General Manager Paul Czak said, “If you live in Kansas City, there are casinos. So you're not coming here to play blackjack. But there's no sports wagering. We'll get more from Missouri and Minnesota and that will dilute the percentage Nebraska makes up for us.”

At the moment, you can only bet in person at Ameristar. Harrah's will get into the game in a week.

And while casinos are hosting the action at the start, watch for a technical tweak that could put all this in your pocket as soon as next summer in the form of a mobile app that’s in the works. You’ll be able to use it as long as you are in the state of Iowa.

The Hawkeye State is the 11th state to legalize sports betting. The rules for how this will work were finalized at the end of July.

There are some things you need to know before you jump in. Those who want to place a bet have to travel to the casino to prove their age and who they are. Then you have to set up an account. Betting is only allowed on collegiate, professional and international sporting events.

Sports betting has its opponents. Some athletes say they've already had bad experiences with fans after they've lost bets on games.

Husker legend Tom Osborne said, “People do what they have to do. I realize there is some illegal gambling now but when you legalize it, you give it the stamp of approval and make it seem as though this is what people ought to do."

All of the state-regulated casinos in Iowa are expected to eventually offer sports betting.