DraftKings Opens Three Retail Sportsbooks In Iowa

DraftKings has opened three new retail sportsbooks in Iowa in partnership with Wild Rose Casino & Resort. Wild Rose owns three properties in the state in Jefferson, Emmetsburg and Clinton. DraftKings received approval to operate in Iowa in late August not long after the launch of sports betting in the state. Iowa becomes the fourth state in which they’ve got a retail location joining New York, New Jersey and Mississippi. DraftKings also offers online and mobile wagering in West Virginia and Indiana.

The three DraftKings retail locations at the Wild Rose properties are fairly unassuming. It reminds me of the William Hill retail locations at smaller Nevada properties–like the Westin Las Vegas used to have before they went non-gaming or the location in The Alamo Casino/TA Truck Stop in Blue Diamond. Even the press release announcing the opening was hard pressed to hype the facilities:

“The DraftKings Sportsbooks at Wild Rose will bring an immersive and entertaining gaming experience for customers. Each location will feature a large videowall displaying games, a mix of smaller TVs, odds boards and a scrolling ticker with live score updates, stats and other player information. Fans will be able to place wagers at three ticket windows, including one at the cashier in each casino, and six self-service betting kiosks in each of the sportsbooks.”

Not that there’s anything wrong with a smaller retail footprint–it’s just a change of pace from the technological arms race that we’ve seen in most newly legal sports betting jurisdictions. Tim Dent, Chief Compliance Officer at DraftKings, got to give the quote for his company:

“Football season is in full swing and it’s the perfect time to bring our retail sports betting experience to Iowa. Our retail locations allow fans to have an exceptional in-person experience with our product and we are proud to show off our industry-leading technological prowess in each of the three locations.  Iowa sports fans are in for a great time.”

Wild Rose President and Chief Operating Officer Tom Timmons spoke effusively about the new sports betting presence at his properties:

“This sports book powered by DraftKings rounds out the entertainment options Wild Rose presents to its customers. More important, together with DraftKings, we are tapping into an emerging market of fans and players who enjoy the excitement and competition of sports betting. As they say, ‘Let it Reign.’”

Generally speaking, the sports betting framework in Iowa isn’t too bad. One exception is this boneheaded and pointless stipulation:

“An important distinction in Iowa is that sportsbooks are not permitted to accept player proposition wagers involving an Iowa university or college. This regulation also extends to the opponents in games with Iowa schools. Pre-match and in-game wagering on Iowa schools and their opponents is permitted.”

From a practical standpoint, it’s no big deal. From a philosophical standpoint, this type of restriction on in-state schools is infuriating. It purports to solve a ‘problem’ that doesn’t exist and calls into question the integrity of the sports betting industry.

DraftKings will also power an online and mobile wagering platform for Wild Rose. No launch date has been announced but it is forthcoming. Until January 2021, players will have to visit one of the Wild Rose properties to sign up for online access. After 1/1/21, they’ll be able to sign up online.

About the Author: Jim Murphy

For more than 25 years, Jim Murphy has written extensively on gambling theory and practice. Jim Murphy has been quoted in media from the Wall Street Journal to REASON Magazine. Murphy worked as a radio and podcasting host broadcasting to an international audience that depended on his expertise and advice.