SIOUX CITY -- Although he isn't much of a gambler, Dakin Schultz placed a bet Friday afternoon on the Iowa State University Cyclones over the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks, their gridiron rivals in a game slated for Saturday.
"Don't know a thing about the Warhawks, but I figure the Cyclones will be out for blood following their loss to the (University of Iowa) Hawkeyes last week," Schulz said, minutes after placing the ceremonial first bet at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City Sportsbook.
On July 30, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission approved rules for sports wagering and license applications made by 18 of the state-regulated casinos.
Under construction since earlier this summer, Hard Rock's Sportsbook began accepting bets at four betting windows for guests wishing to place bets on a variety of popular sporting events.
"It's an honor to place the ceremonial first bet in Hard Rock's Sportsbook because I know Hard Rock does everything with style," Schultz, an Iowa Department of Transportation planner and board president of the Missouri River Historical Development (MRHD), which is the nonprofit holding the gaming license in Woodbury County.
"This day was a long time in coming but I'm very excited," Hard Rock's newly hired sportsbook operations director Anthony Torres said, looking over the more than 400-square-feet space in the east corner of the casino.
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Torres has plenty of experience in opening sportsbook operations. He was given the same task at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City.
Currently, only over-the-counter wagering will be accepted, according to Mike Adams, vice president of operations for Sioux City's Hard Rock.
"Guests will probably be able to make plans for mobile and online sports betting in the next month or so," he said. "Right now, sports betting is only being done at our betting windows."
Adams said local interest in sports betting is very high.
"It seems like every fourth or fifth call we received is someone asking when our sportsbook would open," he said, noting that it will be one more amenity the casino can offer guests.
Hard Rock is the second Siouxland casino that is accepting sports betting. Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort, in Larchwood, Iowa, has already opened its sportsbook.
WinnaVegas Casino Resort, in Sloan, Iowa, and Blackbird Bend Casino, in Onawa, Iowa, will soon be offering sports bets.
Officials for both casinos say their sportsbooks will begin sometime in the next few months.