Iowa Race Tracks: Where to Bet on Horse Races in IA

Learn about Iowa's race tracks and legal horse race betting options

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Betting on horse races is completely legal and well-regulated in Iowa. Not only can you place your bets at the state’s horse race track, but you can also engage in simulcast betting, allowing you to wager on races happening across the country. In this article, we’ll guide you through the ins and outs of the Iowa horse racing scene, ensuring you’re well informed about the legal gambling landscape in the state.

Most Popular Iowa Race Tracks

Keep reading for our comprehensive review of the only horse race track in Iowa.

Prairie Meadows Racetrack

Address: 1 Prairie Meadows Drive, Altoona, IA 50009
Phone: 515-967-1000

At Prairie Meadows Racetrack, you’ll experience the excitement of live horse racing in Iowa’s only physical race track. The season runs from May to September, featuring popular races like the Iowa Derby, Iowa Oaks, and Altoona Derby. With a variety of bets such as Win, Place, Show, and Exotic wagers, you’ll be at the edge of your seat on this one-mile track.

Prairie Meadows

The venue offers both indoor and outdoor seating with over 6,200 seats available. If you prefer betting on the go, their mobile app is a convenient option. Year-round simulcast betting keeps the excitement going, with around 90 live racing events each year for thoroughbreds, quarter horses, and harness racing.

Beyond racing, enjoy trackside amenities like a full-service bar with snacks. The 85,000-square-foot casino, offering slots, table games, and poker, adds to the thrill. Dining options range from AJ’s Steakhouse to quick bites and bars.

List of All Iowa Race Tracks

Check out the singular gem of the Iowa horse racing scene – the only horse race track in the state.

RacetrackAddressPhone NumberBetting Allowed?
Prairie Meadows Racetrack1 Prairie Meadows Drive, Altoona, IA 50009515-967-1000Yes

Simulcast Wagering in Iowa

With a wide range of options available, you’re sure to find a location that suits your needs. Explore the below list of simulcast wagering locations in the state.

Betting LocationAddress
Prairie Meadows OTB1 Prairie Meadows Dr, Altoona, IA 50009
Wild Rose Clinton777 Wild Rose Drive, Clinton, IA 52732
Wild Rose Emmetsburg777 Main Street, Emmetsburg, IA 50536
Wild Rose Jefferson777 Wild Rose Drive, Jefferson, IA 50129

Popular Horse Races in Iowa with Dates

Coming up, we’ll present you with a list of the most popular horse races in Iowa. Each event has its unique charm and history, so let’s discover what the Iowa horse racing scene has to offer.

Horse RacesRacing DatesWhere to Bet
Cornhusker HandicapJunePrairie Meadows
Iowa DerbyJulyPrairie Meadows
Iowa OaksJulyPrairie Meadows
Valley Junction FuturitySeptemberPrairie Meadows
Altoona DerbySeptemberPrairie Meadows
Jim Bader FuturitySeptemberPrairie Meadows
Polk County DerbySeptemberPrairie Meadows

Types of Horse Betting Legal in Iowa

In Iowa, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to legal horse betting. You can immerse yourself in the thrill of live action at the racetrack, enjoy the convenience of simulcast wagering, or take advantage of online betting through advance deposit wagering operators.

The types of bets are just as varied, from the straightforward Win, Place, and Show bets to the more complex Trifecta and Superfecta. Whether you prefer the speed of thoroughbreds, the endurance of standardbreds, or the agility of quarter horses, there’s a race for you.

With options ranging from thoroughbred betting to quarter horse racing and harness racing, you’re sure to find a betting opportunity that suits your style.

Other Types of Gambling in Iowa

Review all the details about Iowa gambling laws and other forms of gambling in the state:

History of Iowa Horse Racing

Iowa horse racing has a rich history, which dates back to 1983 when the state legislature passed the Pari Mutuel Wagering Act. This act legalized pari mutuel betting, and the same year, the Iowa Racing Commission was created to oversee the industry. Fast forward to 1989, pari mutuel wagering on simulcast races was authorized, expanding the betting options for enthusiasts.

In 2011, a significant development occurred when the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) approved legal wagering on horses online via advance deposit wagering operators. This move came following the repeal of the PASPA: Sports Protection Act, which opened the door for states to legalize sports betting.

The Iowa Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association plays a vital role in the local racing industry. As a non-profit organization, it works tirelessly to promote breeding and thoroughbred racing. It also collaborates with the state legislature to protect the industry.

However, the regulation of mobile online horse racing bets in Iowa is a contentious issue. The law appears to require all ADW providers to have an agreement with Prairie Meadows Racetrack and the Iowa Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protection Association (HBPA) to receive a license.

Yet, the HBPA has voiced concerns about out-of-state ADW providers offering their services in Iowa without authorization. Despite these concerns, no action has been taken against these operators to date, leading to an ongoing debate about the regulation of online horse racing betting in Iowa.

Iowa Gambling FAQ

Is Iowa horse racing legal?

It’s important to understand the rules in your home state, as US gambling laws by state vary. Iowa horse racing is legal, and the state legislature passed the Pari Mutuel Wagering Act in 1983, which legalized pari mutuel betting on horse races. The Iowa Racing Commission was also created the same year to oversee the industry. Additionally, in 2011, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission approved legal online wagering on horses via advance deposit wagering operators.

Can I bet on horse races in other states?

Yes, you can bet on horse races in other states. This is made possible through simulcast wagering. Simulcast wagering allows you to place bets on live horse races happening in different locations, not just in your current state.

What’s the largest of Iowa race tracks?

The largest racetrack in Iowa is Prairie Meadows. Located in Altoona, this is the only horse racing track in the state. It features both thoroughbred and quarter horse races. The track is also unique in that it offers a mix of casino gaming, dining, and entertainment options alongside the racing.

Can I bet on horse races online in Iowa?

Yes, you can bet on horse races online in Iowa. This is possible through Advance Deposit Wagering (ADW) operators. So, as long as you have set up an account with an ADW operator and have funds available, you can place bets on horse races online.

How can I bet on Iowa horse racing events?

There are several ways you can bet on horse racing events in Iowa. You can visit physical Iowa race tracks and place your bets directly. Alternatively, you can participate in simulcast and off-track betting, where you can wager on races happening in different locations. Lastly, you can also bet online through Advance Deposit Wagering operators, where you fund your account before placing bets.

What’s the minimum age to bet on horses in Iowa?

In Iowa, the minimum gambling age to bet on horse races is 21 years old. This means that you must be at least 21 to place a bet on horse racing events, whether it’s at Iowa race tracks, through simulcast and off-track betting, or online. Always remember to practice responsible gambling.

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