Sports betting officially has arrived in Iowa and will make its way to one of Dubuque’s casinos next week.
At least six Iowa casinos will allow customers to place wagers on sporting events beginning at noon today.
The launch of sports betting in the state comes about three months after Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill establishing legal means to bet on professional, collegiate and international sports. Eighteen of Iowa’s 19 casinos subsequently have been granted licenses to offer sports betting.
The two casinos in Dubuque are getting closer to launching their own sportsbooks.
Q Casino and Hotel will open its sportsbook at noon Thursday, Aug. 22, pending state approval, according to General Manager Brian Rakestraw.
The new offering, simply titled Q Sportsbook, will feature one-dozen automated kiosks at which guests can place bets. The facility also will employ tellers who can assist bettors in placing their wagers.
Q Sportsbook will be located within the 4,200-square-foot sports bar on the facility’s upper level. Crews tore out an old golf simulator and have installed dozens of new televisions to enhance the sports-viewing experience.
The anticipated launch date will occur one week prior to the first full weekend of college football and two weeks before the National Football League kicks off its regular season.
“One of the reasons we did select that date is that it gives us a little time to work out kinks and get the employees used to taking the bets,” Rakestraw said. “We think that by Labor Day weekend, we should have a really nice crowd.”
The launch date for sports betting at Diamond Jo Casino in Dubuque is less certain.
David Strow, a spokesman for Diamond Jo parent company Boyd Gaming, said the casino still aims to open its sportsbook in time for the NFL season opener, which is slated to occur Thursday, Sept. 5.
Strow said the new offering will be called FanDuel Sportsbook, a nod to the sports betting operator with which Boyd Gaming announced a partnership last year.
“Our goal is to leverage that partnership,” Strow said. “They are a well-known brand and have built up considerable brand equity over the years.”
FanDuel originally focused on daily fantasy sports, but today offers a wide range of sports betting options.
Diamond Jo’s sportsbook will be located in the southeast corner of the casino in an area that previously housed slot machines. A permit issued by the City of Dubuque pegged the cost of these renovations at $590,000.
Officials representing both Dubuque casinos said gamblers eventually will be able to place wagers using applications on their smartphones. Each casino, however, confirmed that this option will not be available when the sportsbooks first open.
Casino Queen in Marquette was the lone Iowa casino to not file for a sports betting license. However, Amy White, the casino’s marketing manager, said the casino will in fact apply for a license in the near future.