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Sports betting at Prairie Meadows begins Thursday at noon
24th September, 13:40Prairie Meadows recently finished renovations and is ready to open the states first sports book once the Legislature approves it. Brian Powers, firstname.lastname@example.org
The wait is almost over for those in the Des Moines metro wanting to place bets on sporting events.
Prairie Meadows will open its sportsbook to visitors at noon Thursday, which is the exact moment that sports betting becomes legal in Iowa.
State Sens. Jack Whitver, R-Ankeny, and Tony Bisignano, D-Des Moines, will place ceremonial first bets at the Altoona casino during its grand opening.
Prairie Meadows' 8,600-square-foot sportsbook and bar features a wall of televisions displaying games and betting odds for gamblers, self-betting kiosks and a bar area serving food, drinks and craft beer.
► More:Iowa sports betting: What new, experienced gamblers need to know
Players can place bets in person or via a mobile app, which they can use after appearing once in person at the casino to prove their age and identity and set up an account.
Iowa is the 11th state to offer legal sports wagering to adults 21 and older. The state's legalization follows a May 2018 Supreme Court decision that struck down a federal ban on sports betting outside Nevada.
Iowa's law will allow betting on professional, college and certain fantasy sports contests.
Following the Supreme Court decision, Prairie Meadows officials immediately began preparing for legalization in Iowa and announced in January that they would partner with William Hill, the largest sportsbook operator in the U.S., to run the casino's sports betting operation.
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission finalized the sports betting rules for the state late last month, setting the start date for Iowa sports betting at noon Aug. 15.
► More: Iowa sports betting: What to do now that official rules, start date for legal gambling are finalized
Prairie Meadows is among 18 of the state's 19 licensed casinos preparing to open sportsbooks of their own. At least 15 of the 18 casinos are expected to eventually offer mobile-based betting. Not every Iowa casino will immediately begin taking bets on Aug. 15.
In Osceola, Lakeside Hotel & Casino will also open its sportsbook at noon Thursday. Joseph Reynolds, a World War II veteran residing in Clarke County, will place the ceremonial first bet.
Those who sign up member accounts at Lakeside between Thursday and Sept. 28 will receive a "bet $50, get $50" offer and be entered to win a $10,000 sports "dream vacation" to any sporting event in the continental U.S. during the upcoming year, according to a news release.
Ian Richardson covers Ankeny and Altoona for the Register. Reach him at email@example.com, at 515-284-8254, or on Twitter at @DMRIanR.