Iowa, the Hawkeye state, is the 30th largest state as far as population is concerned. Here you have more than 56,000 miles of land which lands it somewhere right in the middle in terms of space when compared with other states.
Iowa is another little gem state as many don’t know too much about it, which is easily explained when we realize that its biggest tourist attraction is a baseball field that got notorious because of a 1989 movie.
In that particular movie, Iowa is mistaken by heaven, and in reality, this more or less describes the strength of the state gambling industry, with an annual $1.3 billion in revenues. Impressive for a state with no touristic attractions.
Gambling History and Scenario
There’s an interesting story behind the legalization of gambling in Iowa. It all began with a small town annual picnic held by the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, back in 1971, in the North Buena Vista.
The event had 40 years tradition at the time and involved bingo, a dice table, wheel of fortune and card games. The beer was also served at an event that transformed the 150 population into over 8.000 every single year.
In that particular year, the state attorney decided to confiscate all the gambling equipment. The situation took such proportions that the priest, Father Carl Ruhland, was charged with running a gambling venue.
This criminal prosecution of the priest ended a couple of weeks later when he pleads guilty and paid a minor fine of $100, but this lead to the rage of the population, which could not conceive that the church picnic could be considered gambling and that the priest had to stand trial for it.
The population outcry was so big that the Iowa state legislated to repeal the gambling ban immediately on the next year, in 1972. Unsurprisingly, later in 1972, this legislation was approved by popular vote, starting Iowa’s journey in the legal gambling way.
From then until today gambling grew to have several casinos and racinos, being the Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino, in Altoona, the largest of the venues in revenue and dimensions, offering close to 2.000 slots, table games, horse racing and nearly 90.000 square feet of casino area.
Even if this cannot be compared with the Vegas mega-resorts, it’s still a $180 million yearly revenue. The Horseshow Bluffs Run and the Ameristar II also make more than $150 million per year, which are significant values considering the state only has three million residents, and their tourism numbers are far from being huge.
Types of Gambling Found in Iowa
Iowa welcomes gaming at 21 and over for many different types. The gaming here started in the 1980s, so it is a relatively new state in terms of legalized gambling. There are several different kinds of gaming found within the state of Iowa.
Here, players will have over 20 different casinos including big names like Harrah’s. Casinos within this state permit gaming to start at 21 or over. The state lottery began in 1985 which gives the citizens there a really great place to live due to the increased revenue that is available due to the lottery.
Lottery folks will have several different types of lottery games available. Some of those include Powerball, Mega Millions, Hot Lotto and much more, both in-state and multi-state drawings.
Pari-Mutuel betting is another great option for players to get in on some betting action. Players will have horse racing with the combination of slots as well. These were introduced in 2004 which is relatively new.
Within some of the racetracks, you will see table games and smaller sized casinos to make the areas one-stop shops. Charitable gaming also exists under the format of bingo and raffles.
The online gambling status in Iowa resembles the situation in the other states, it’s not mentioned in the law. The only thing that is clearly stated in the law is the gambling age limits, which applies online too.
Given the overall evolution of the topic, it’s possible that within 5 years’ time online gambling might be legalized, but meanwhile, the activity should be done with caution.
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