With respect to potential penalties, Iowa might have the most specific laws of any state of the fifty. The first thing that should be established is that, with exception to bingo and racetrack gambling, all forms of gambling in which money is bet are illegal in the state:
725.7 Gaming and betting -- penalty.
1. Except as permitted in chapters 99B [bingo] and 99D [racetracks], a person shall not do any of the following:
- Participate in a game for any sum of money or other property of any value.
- Make any bet.
- For a fee, directly or indirectly, give or accept anything of value to be wagered or to be transmitted or delivered for a wager to be placed within or without the state of Iowa.
- For a fee, deliver anything of value which has been received outside the enclosure of a racetrack licensed under chapter 99D to be placed as wagers in the pari-mutuel pool or other authorized systems of wagering.
- Engage in bookmaking.
Transmission of monies or property for the purpose of gambling, engaging in bookmaking and actually participating in gambling are all illegal, but the penalty depends on the sum of money being bet and how many prior offenses the individual in question has.
2. A person who violates this section is guilty of the following:
a. Illegal gaming in the fourth degree if the sum of money or value of other property involved does not exceed one hundred dollars. Illegal gaming in the fourth degree constitutes the following:
- A serious misdemeanor for a first offense.
- An aggravated misdemeanor for a second offense.
- A class "D" felony for a third offense.
- A class "C" felony for a fourth or subsequent offense.
b. Illegal gaming in the third degree if the sum of money or value of other property involved exceeds one hundred dollars but does not exceed five hundred dollars. Illegal gaming in the third degree constitutes the following:
- An aggravated misdemeanor for a first offense.
- A class "D" felony for a second offense.
- A class "C" felony for a third or subsequent offense.
c. Illegal gaming in the second degree if the sum of money or value of other property involved exceeds five hundred dollars but does not exceed five thousand dollars. Illegal gaming in the second degree constitutes the following:
- A class "D" felony for a first offense.
- A class "C" felony for a second or subsequent offense.
d. Illegal gaming in the first degree if the sum of money or value of other property involved exceeds five thousand dollars. Illegal gaming in the first degree constitutes a class "C" felony.
Serious misdemeanors can result in up to one year in jail and up to $1,875 in fines.
Aggravated Misdemeanors can result in up to two years imprisonment and up to $6,250 in fines.
Class D Felonies can result in up to five years imprisonment and up to $7,500 in fines.
Class C felonies can result in up to ten years imprisonment and up to $10,000 in fines.
In summary, the penalties for illegal gambling for operators and mere participants alike might be more hardcore than any of the other fifty states. The police in Iowa also enforce these gambling laws, here is one example of an illegal poker game that got busted up with several people arrested.
Here are some arrests for an illegal dice game that was so highly sophisticated it was being played on a pool table.
It should come as no surprise, but there do not seem to have been any stories of arrests in Iowa of players who were merely playing at an Internet casino houses outside of the State of Iowa.
In conclusion, while we serious doubt there would ever be any arrests for online gambling (as a player) in the State of Iowa, the state’s history of having harsh criminal penalties for operators and participants alike, as well as their apparent zeal for busting up small-time games in other areas, leads one to the conclusion that it is banned. Daily Fantasy Sports is also patently illegal in Iowa and all efforts to the contrary, thus far, have died a Legislative death.
FINAL RANKING: Banned-20
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