HomeIowa Horse Race BettingOff-Track Betting in Iowa

Off-track betting in Iowa

On this page, you will learn everything you need to know about off-track betting in Iowa including where they are located, how to place an OTB bet in Iowa, advice for betting at the OTB from our team of experts, and much more.

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Despite having just one actual horse race track in the state (Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino), gamblers in Iowa still have plenty of options for horse racing. One such avenue, off-track betting (OTB), provides bettors with a location to bet on horse races happening nationwide.

When Iowa sports betting came to the state in 2019, brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, which included racehorse betting, came with them. While online horse race betting in Iowa is also legal, let’s take a look at the in-person off-track betting in Iowa options.

Off-track betting locations in Iowa


There are 12 off-track betting locations in Iowa, all located at casinos throughout the Hawkeye State. Take a look below at the dozen OTB locations in Iowa, including exactly where to find them.

OTB

Address

Catfish Bend Casino

902 Riverview Drive Fort Madison, Iowa 52627

Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino

1 Prairie Meadows Dr. PO Box 1000 Altoona, IA 50009

Bluffs Run Casino

2701 23rd Avenue Council Bluffs, Iowa 51502

Mississippi Belle II

311 Riverview Drive Clinton, Iowa 52732

Harrah's

1 Harrah's Boulevard

Ameristar Casino & Hotel

2200 River Road Council Bluffs, IA 51501

Dubuque Greyhound Park & Casino

1855 Greyhound Park Rd, Dubuque, IA 52001

Diamond Jo Casino

400 East 3rd Street, Dubuque IA 52001

Wild Rose – Emmetsburg

701 E. Main St. Emmetsburg, IA 50536

Isle of Capri Marquette

100 Anti-Monopoly Street Highway 18 West Marquette, Iowa 5215

Terrible's Lakeside Casino Resort

777 Casino Dr., Osceola, IA 50213

Argosy IV

100 Larsen Park Road P.O. Box 3775 Sioux City, Iowa 51102

Off-track betting and how it works

Off-track betting in Iowa is a popular form of gambling for the state's more than 3 million residents. Commonly referred to as an OTB, off-track betting in Iowa is done at one of the state’s 12 casinos. The Hawkeye State is somewhat unique in that regard, as other states have independent OTB facilities, with some even located at bars and restaurants.

Simply put, off-track betting works by allowing gamblers to place bets on races from horse race tracks across the country, and then watch them on closed-circuit television. Also known as pari-mutuel Advance Deposit Wagering (ADW), off-track betting allows horse racing fans to bet on the biggest races in the country, right from their hometown.

Like other states, off-track betting locations in Iowa make their money by taking a small commission on every bet placed (the “takeout”), no matter whether it's a winner or loser. At Iowa casinos, off-track betting is most commonly at or near the casino’s sportsbook.

How do I place a bet at OTB locations in Iowa?

For residents and those visiting the great state of Iowa, visiting an OTB location is much easier than you might expect. Below, we walk you through how to place a bet at OTB locations in Iowa, using the increasingly popular self-service kiosk.

  1. Plan Your Bet: Planning for the wager you are about to make is arguably the most important step when placing a bet at OTB locations in Iowa. The best way to go about it is to purchase a tip sheet from the OTB counter which is a paper book made by professional horse racing handicappers. It includes information on the day’s races such as horse and jockey records, and more.
  2. Insert Cash: Using cash only, put your funds into the machine to begin the betting process. Typically, the minimum amount to deposit is just $5.
  3. Place Your Bet: Using the tip sheet mentioned in step #1, or doing your own research elsewhere, figure out the race track, race #, horse #, and the type of bet you want to place (win, place/show, exotic, etc.). Using the intuitive touchscreen, follow the steps to place your bet.
  4. Keep the Ticket: Once your bet is confirmed, and the amount you wish to wager entered, the machine will print out a ticket that confirms your bet. Make sure not to lose your ticket, as you’ll need this later to collect your winnings. Now, all that’s left to do is watch your race on one of the OTB location's closed-circuit televisions.
  5. Collect Your Winnings: If your bet is a winner, take the ticket back to the machine and insert it. From here, the machine will spit out a voucher which is then redeemable for cash at the OTB cashier. If your bet was a loser, you can discard the ticket.

Expert advice when off-track betting in Iowa

When it comes to placing a bet at an off-track betting Iowa location, we’re here to arm you with some great tips and tricks to make sure you have a great experience. Based on nearly two decades of experience, below are a few pieces of expert advice when off-track betting in Iowa.

  • Tip Sheets: Every off-track betting in Iowa location has tip sheets, which are paper booklets put together by professional horse racing handicappers. They include a plethora of information, such as every horse’s record, their jockey’s record, and the trainer’s involved record. Usually not more than $10, tip sheets are a great way to quickly acquire information to help you place your wager.
  • Horse Trainers: Using the tip sheet, take a look at the trainers involved in the races on the day you are there and how they have performed historically. Not only will you see how they have done with all the horses they train, but how their horses have done at individual tracks. Using this information, you can key in on trainers who might do well that day and place them on your betting cards accordingly.
  • Bet Favorites: Like all sports betting, the horses who are favored to do well, more often than not do. Using a combination of the tip sheet, odds, and understanding of horse racing betting types, use the favorites to maximize your profit throughout the day.

FAQ

Are there any age restrictions for participating in off-track betting in Iowa?

Yes, customers at off-track betting Iowa locations must be at least 21 years of age or older. While some states require customers to be just 18 years of age, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has taken a hard stance on 21-year-olds.

What types of bets can I place at an OTB location in Iowa?

You can place a multitude of different types of bets at an OTB location in Iowa, including win, place, show, and exotics. Exotic bets are those that involve three or more horses and include a trifecta, superfecta, quinella, and more.

Is off-track betting available year-round in Iowa?

Yes, off-track betting is available year-round in Iowa, as they allow for betting on horse races that are happening throughout the country.

Can I watch live horse racing broadcasts at off-track betting sites?

Yes, you can watch live horse racing broadcasts at off-track betting sites via closed-circuit televisions that are spread throughout the off-track betting site.

Are there any dining or entertainment options at OTB locations in Iowa?

Yes, there are many dining and entertainment options at OTB locations in Iowa, as they are all located at casinos and resorts spread throughout the state.

What are the betting limits for off-track betting in Iowa?

While the betting limit varies by off-track betting Iowa site, typically, there is a $1,000 maximum betting limit at most locations.