Sports Betting Ready for Kickoff in Iowa

Posted on August 12, 2019 - Last Updated on August 14, 2019

When football season for the Iowa Hawkeyes and Iowa State Cyclones kickoff on August 31, die-hard fans of the Black and Gold and Cardinal and Gold will, for the first time ever, be legally allowed to bet on (or against) their favorite college football team.

Sports betting is now legal in Iowa following the passage of a bill in May. And Hawkeye state sports fans are only a few days away from being able to place a legal sports bet.

When sports betting launches in Iowa, it becomes the ninth state with legal sports betting in operation. There are also seven other states that have passed legislation in 2019 already.

Biggest Year Ever for Football in Iowa?

What a year it could potentially be for the many avid college football fans in Iowa. Not only can these Midwesterners now legally bet on sports. They’re also, perhaps, weeks away from the start of what just might be the best year ever for teams in the state.

Iowa enters the season ranked #19 in the Coaches Poll coming off a solid 9-4 season that concluded with an impressive victory over Mississippi State in the Outback Bowl. Their rival, Iowa State is, for the first time ever, ranked in the preseason. The Cyclones will square off against Northern Iowa on August 31 ranked #24 in the Coaches Poll.

Three weeks from kickoff and Iowa State’s ticket office has already sold 43,000 season tickets, the most in history. Iowa fans are a little more used to having success. But that Iowa-Iowa State game on September 14 could be the biggest in series history. And don’t think for one second local sportsbooks aren’t going to be excited to take in all those wagers, especially from fans who will drop money on gambling based on school allegiance instead of using their head.

When Will Sports Betting Launch in Hawkeye State?

Earlier this month, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission gave the okay to local sportsbooks to begin accepting sports wagers on August 15 at noon. That is the day the first legal bets in the Hawkeye state will be placed. And you can rest assured many Hawkeyes and Cyclones fans will be in line on day one ready to bet on their favorite team.

So, the countdown is officially on at around 72 hours. Many outside of Iowa don’t realize just how popular gambling is in the state. Iowa’s casinos raked in $1.45 billion in revenue last year. We aren’t exactly talking about Nevada here, but Iowa is one of the top states for gambling.

Iowa Football Coach Kirk Ferentz on Sports Betting

Now that sports betting is legal in Iowa, the local media asked Iowa’s football coach what he thinks of the new law. Kirk Ferentz has roamed the Hawkeyes sidelines for the past 21 years, making him the longest tenured head coach in college football.

Those who have paid attention to Iowa football the past two decades know that Ferentz is rarely outspoken. He prefers to keep his strong opinions to himself. But he did open up a bit recently on the sports betting issue.

“It’s always been an industry,” Ferentz said at Iowa football Media Day. “It’s always been something we’ve got to be cognizant of I think and educate our players on. So I really don’t think the approach changes. I don’t see how it changes at all. Gambling has always been involved, and so there’s just lines of demarcation are pretty clear, and any of us involved in sports, to even think about being involved in that is just a bad deal.”

Iowa’s athletics director Gary Barta said, “we educate, educate, educate” student athletes on gambling. He also said that with sports betting now legal in Iowa, it’s even more important to educate student-athletes on the “ways that gambling can intervene in your life.”

Neither Barta nor Ferentz appear too concerned that sports betting is now legalized in their state, however.

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