Iowa Legal Poker Sites

Iowa StateThere are plenty of casinos offering live poker action in Iowa, thanks to the decentralized licensing of State casinos – which lets individual counties vote on whether to allow casinos in their area. The biggest card room is located in Council Bluffs – and caters for a large amount of visitors from neighboring Nebraska, where the laws are not so gambling friendly. While internet poker is not regulated here, some commentators have stated that Iowa makes a great candidate for the next round of State legislation.

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This article gives you the low-down on poker games in Iowa in their various different formats. First of all I have covered the casino poker rooms available here. After that you will find information on social poker games, this encompasses home poker games, bar leagues and charity events too. Online poker is next to be looked at, followed by a delve into the Iowa Statutes for the key wording relating to poker games. At the end of the page you’ll find a summary and a look at potential future scenarios for poker in this State.

Live Poker Games In Iowa

There are 15 different poker rooms to choose from at casinos in Iowa. These are mid-sized by the standards of poker casinos around the country, holding anything from a handful of tables to around 20. The biggest casino is in the West of Iowa at Council Bluffs, the Horseshoe casino gets a lot of visitors from Nebraska as well as from Iowa – and is located just over the border from the NE city of Omaha.

Some smaller tours and events happen at the Iowan casinos, including the popular mid-States poker tour as well as fairly large in-State events. You can find lower buy-in cash games all year around. If the mid-sized poker rooms are not what you are looking for, there are other options in Illinois and Wisconsin.

Are Home Games Legal In Iowa?

You can legally play poker home games in Iowa. The usual rule of nobody being allowed to make a profit from hosting or running the game applies. There is also a legal stipulation which states that an individual is not able to win more than $50. This seems low by today’s standards, and has likely not been adjusted for inflation recently. The message here is that the social carve out for home games is very much focused on the small stakes, and if you start hosting a game for bigger money, then you are at risk of breaking the law.

Charity poker tournaments do run in this State, and bar poker leagues (with free to enter games) are also popular here.

Online Poker Games In Iowa

Online poker was not around when the Iowa Statutes were drafted, and so do not get a specific mention under the law here. As in most States the enforcement agencies assume that this is already adequately covered by the existing general laws. Also in common with most States, there has never been a test case and no individual has ever been charged with playing online poker games for real money.

There have already been some moves to regulate online poker, with a 2012 bill failing to make it as far as the Senate floor. What is more the governor has said that 2015 is the most likely target date for legislation of online poker games.

In the meantime, offshore poker sites are still welcoming Iowans from their location on Caribbean islands. While playing real money games on these sites is at your own risk, tens of thousands of Americans do enjoy these games every week.

What Do The Iowa Gambling Statutes Say?

As far as laws go, Iowa could win a country-wide prize for coming up with the widest possible definition in the smallest number of words. The focus of the Statutes here is on the ‘wager’, and the law states that if you wager on just about anything, then you are breaking the law!

Here are the compact descriptions from the Iowa Statute books, you’ll find more details in section 725-7 of the code:

…Participate in a game for any sum of money or other property of any value…

…make any bet…

There is a stipulation that betting from ‘within or without’ Iowa could be covered, which makes it feel like phone or internet bets might be covered. There is currently no precedent for this specifically banning internet gambling though.

Iowa Poker – Summing It Up

Iowa is a gambling friendly State that are also more than happy to provide poker games to neighboring Nebraskans conveniently close to their border. The progressive nature of legislation in this State (along with some words from the Governor) makes it entirely possible that Iowa could follow New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware into the regulated online poker market very soon indeed.

In the meantime you are free to enjoy a home game, as long as the stakes stay small.