Iowa Removes In-Person Sports Betting Registration Requirement

  • Remote registration for online sports betting accounts is permitted starting January 1
  • At least ten more companies have applied for online sports betting licensing
  • Iowa’s online sports betting market is expected to grow without the sign-up restriction
Computer keyboard with a shift key changed to "Online Registration"
Iowa’s in-person registration requirement for online sports betting accounts has expired, allowing people to signup remotely beginning January 1. [Image:]

Online registration coming soon

An in-person sports betting registration requirement in Iowa will end on January 1. After launching its sports wagering industry in August 2019, the state required players to create their online sports betting accounts at a brick-and-mortar venue. The mandate ends with the turn of the calendar page and the state expects many new accounts in the future as true online registration begins.

waiting more than a year for the condition to end

Iowa’s online sports betting market has been limited because of the physical registration requirement. People not willing to travel because of the COVID-19 pandemic were unable to take part. Operators have been waiting more than a year for the condition to end so that they could attract more signups.

New companies get ready

For operators to offer remote registration, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has to approve their systems. The Commission has approved most of the sportsbook providers in the state, but Commission Administrator Brian Ohorilko told Legal Sports Report that up to ten new online sports companies have either already applied or likely will apply for licensing.

“It is more likely than not that our market will look differently by summer once this new wave of applications subsides,” he said.

Right now, there are eight providers in Iowa’s sports betting market, including FanDuel, DraftKings, PointsBet, BetRivers, William Hill, Q Sportsbook, Elite, and Hard Rock.

Reaching new heights

The online sports betting industry in Iowa is expected to grow once the remote registration process begins. The first retail sportsbooks and online sites started offering services on August 15, 2019. Since that time, the industry has done well, but the in-person registration stipulation has held it back.

This year, professional sports leagues postponed and cut short their seasons because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This naturally led to fewer betting opportunities and reduced revenue. Many leagues returned this summer; the NFL is about to reach the playoffs and the NBA’s new season just got started after an abbreviated offseason.

The state has yet to reach the $100m mark for betting handle, but it came close last month, as Iowa sportsbooks took in $87.2m in bets. Analysts expect that once players can sign up online, betting handle and revenue totals will increase considerably.

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