NORTHWOOD, Iowa (KTTC) – Iowa is the 11th state to allow sports betting after Governor Kim Reynolds signed a measure back in May.
Starting earlier this month, the state’s 19 casinos began taking sports bets.
Joining the party a little later, today, Diamond Jo Casino in Northwood showcased their sports betting program.
“It just makes the games more exciting to put a little money on it,” said Jack Brodshaug.
One of many Minnesotans in Iowa today making their first sports bet, Brodshaug crossed the border to bet on Minnesota Gophers football.
“I got big hopes. It’s about time. It’s their third year with [Coach] Fleck so this time they’re going to be good,” Brodshaug said. “I put a big bet on them so I hope they do me proud.”
Football fans were also treated to the appearance of former Minnesota Viking and Hall of Famer John Randle, who made the very first bet.
“I’m excited about it because it helps out the economy and it’s something that’s a new experience for sports fans. To me, it’s a win, win, win. I was excited about being a part of it,” said Randle. “My first bet was on the Minnesota Twins to win tonight. I’m believing this is going to be a safe bet but a good bet.”
The casino is partnering with FanDuel to get its sportsbook up and running.
“It is just training but we hire great people to work at the sportsbook and the property itself,” said Diamond Jo Casino general manager Scott Smith. “It’s been pretty smooth. We have great partners and are excited for this opportunity.”
New to the Midwest, sports betting has been gaining popularity over the years and now moving from the black market to casinos nationwide.
“We’re for everybody. Sports betting was a subculture, it’s now mainstream,” said FanDuel Midwest regional manager Jeff Hoose. “It’s been legalized in 11 states and I anticipate this being a part of normal American life they way it is in Europe.”
While it may look new to someone placing their first sports bet, the staff at Diamond Jo Casino will help you understand the process.
“There’s a lot of lights and a lot of numbers on that board. I don’t want you to be intimidated. I want you to come up and talk to us,” Hoose said. “If you have a functional understanding of math and a functional understanding of sports, I can talk you through it.”
“Be safe, have fun with it and good luck.” advised Smith.
Diamond Jo’s general manager also warns if this is your first time to start simple and place a bet on your favorite team for a small amount.
In addition to making your bets inside the casino, there will soon be a mobile app available, but you still have to be inside of Iowa state borders to place those bets.