Iowa Sportsbooks Attract Football Bets on Nebraska, Chiefs

By Jake Perper

September 10th, 2019 - 1:13pm

The launch of the Ameristar Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Aug. 22 was punctuated by a flurry of wagers on the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team and Kansas City Chiefs.

According to ESPN, 132 of the 260 bets placed have been on Nebraska to win the national title. This includes a $2,800 bet on +6600 odds within the first hour of the sportsbook being live.

Ameristar Casino vice president and general manager Paul Czak told the Lincoln Journal Star on Sept. 1 that just north of 50 percent of the casino’s business comes from customers with a Nebraska zip code.

Nebraska Dominating Ameristar Sports Betting

Erich Zimny, the head of retail sportsbook operations for Penn National Gaming, told ESPN that as of Aug. 28, "the liability on Nebraska was approaching $250,000" and that they anticipate the number to continue growing.

On top of the action from the futures bets on Nebraska winning the national championship, there have been other interesting wagers made by Cornhuskers fans since the Iowa sportsbook opening.

Zimny also said, "We have almost 200 individual plays on Nebraska to win the Big Ten alone. Heck, (Cornhuskers quarterback) Adrian Martinez is even the book's biggest Heisman Trophy winner liability."

The Ameristar Casino has Nebraska currently at +25000 odds to win the national title. Clemson (+175), Alabama (+250) and Georgia (+800) lead the pack.

Despite going 4-8 a season ago, Nebraska started the season ranked No. 25, but bombed out of the rankings following a loss to Colorado. The Cornhuskers play Northern Illinois on Saturday night.

The sportsbook offers a "bet builder app" for customers to use and check odds on, which allows them the ability to make parlay and prop bets on their phone or desktop computer prior to going to a betting window.

The casino plans to release their own sports betting app in 2020, according to Omaha World-Herald. As with other sports betting apps, customers will be make bets via a mobile device as long as they’re within Iowa state lines and are registered with the casino.

Heavy Kansas City Chiefs Action As Well

With six Iowa casinos beginning to accept sports wagers and more casinos opening sportsbooks, the NFL is a hot commodity to bet on.

Despite the Kansas City Chiefs being a popular bet to win the Super Bowl at the Ameristar Casino, according to the Kansas City Star, the Chiefs have seen their line for next Sunday’s road tilt with AFC West rival Oakland shrink from -9 to -8.

Other neighboring states are taking notice of Iowa's early sports betting returns. In Minnesota, a sports betting bill went nowhere in 2019 but advocates vow they will try again in 2020.

With legal betting in Iowa, it’s clear that people who live in states without a legal option will be coming to Iowa for the foreseeable future to try to win some money.
Written By
Jake Perper

Jake Perper covers gambling news for He has been a sports writer for a decade, covering every level of sports.

He’s currently the lead scout for Prep Hoops Florida based out of Tampa, Florida and has covered the Chicago Bears for the... Read More

Jake Perper covers gambling news for He has been a sports writer for a decade, covering every level of sports.

He’s currently the lead scout for Prep Hoops Florida...

.. Read More