LARCHWOOD—The wait is almost over to start sports betting at the Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort near Larchwood.
General manager Sharon Haselhoff said betting through the casino’s Elite Sportsbook app will be going live any day while a temporary on-site sportsbook is on pace to open Aug. 31.
Meanwhile, the casino is partnering with Betfred, a bookmaker based in the United Kingdom, to establish a permanent sportsbook on the casino floor where the show lounge is located.
“Hopefully, in the next few months the show lounge will be transformed into the sportsbook,” Haselhoff said. “It will really wow folks.”
Betfred is the third-largest bookmaker in the UK, with more than 1,600 locations. Grand Falls will be the first sportsbook affiliated with Betfred in the United States.
Sports betting became legal statewide on Aug. 15, about three months after Gov. Kim Reynolds signed Senate File 617. The bill allows wagering on college and professional sports as well as fantasy sports.
Eighteen of the 19 state-regulated casinos applied for sports betting licensing. Eight casinos launched on-site sportsbooks on day one, including Grand Falls’ sister locations in Riverside and Davenport.
“Obviously, we would have loved to have been ready to go, but we wanted to make sure that when we do go live that everything is up and ready to go as it should be,” Haselhoff said. “Betfred — they’re not licensed yet. Until they are licensed, we can’t go live with them. With our contract with them, if they’re not licensed and ready to go by Aug. 31, then we’re able to do a temporary sportsbook under the Elite Sportsbook brand.”
The temporary sportsbook, occupied with ticket windows and cashiers, will be located in the VIP Lounge on the casino floor.
Members of the casino’s Resort Club can visit the Elite Sportsbook’s website to register for sports betting through the app. Once the app is live, bettors can place wagers as long as they are in Iowa. People who are not a Resort Club member will need to visit Grand Falls.
Www.elitesportsbook.com has an online handbook to introduce new bettors to terminology, rules and different types of bets.
“That’s one of the roles that our supervisor will have of the sportsbook — helping folks,” Haselhoff said. “We can help them through the technology and types of bets and what they can and cannot do.”
“We’ve had a lot of interest, a lot of phone calls. I even had a person from Montana call to ask about our sportsbook because he said it’s going to be the closest sportsbook to him,” she added. “We anticipate there’s going to be lots of questions and that’s good.”