Iowa Moves to Legalize Sports Betting

Posted on April 30, 2019

For those unfamiliar with US gambling laws, it is worth mentioning that a momentous decision was made in 2018. After years of legal challenges, the US Supreme Court struck down a Federal ban on sports betting outside of Nevada.

This did not immediately mean that sports betting was legal across the whole of the United States. Rather, it meant that each state could decide sports betting’s legality on their own. Regardless, sports bettors across the country greeted the decisions positively.

Many states rushed to pass legislation that would legalize and regulate sports betting, but other states took their time. Iowa, despite its nearly 20 casinos, is one of the states that took their time.

Delaware, for example, legalized sports betting just a few weeks following the decision.

After a good bit of waiting, Iowans were greeted this week with the passing of a bill that officially legalized sports betting and daily fantasy sports (DFS) games. This marks the culmination of a lot of work that happened across political aisles.

Making a Sports Betting Dream a Reality

This bill will surely benefit the state’s coffers by way of increased tax revenues, and estimates are staggering. Millions upon millions of dollars are expected in year one, and that figure is being labeled conservative.

With that said, it is unclear whether Governor Kim Reynolds will sign the bill or not. Governor Reynolds, a Republican, has not been vocal regarding her feelings on legalized sports betting. It is widely believed that Governor Reynolds will sign the bill simply because it will financially benefit her state.

The bill, which passed easily, will make it legal for all of the states casinos to offer sports betting. In addition, it sets forth the rules and regulations that will govern DFS sites such as FanDuel and DraftKings. Being that the estimated money spent across the nation on illegal gambling is over $150 billion, it only makes sense that Iowa wants to get their hands on some of that money.

According to Senator Roby Smith, from Davenport, this bill will “bring people out of the shadows and gives them a regulated environment.”

Self-Regulation a Win for Iowa Casinos

Iowa casinos are already big winners as a result of this, but their winning is two-fold. This is so because the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission will be tasked with regulating the newly-created industry.

The IRGC was granted the task of regulating the sports betting market, rather than creating a new agency to do so. Other states have opted for the creation of new agencies to regulate sports betting.

Under the bill, you must be at least 21 years of age in order to place sports bets or play DFS games. DFS games can be played online, but sports betting will only be available through your phone if you register at a physical casino first. Otherwise, placing sports bets is something that can only be done at a casino.

Little information is known, but folks are eager to understand more about what mobile betting will entail. The current belief is that an intrastate online sports betting system will take shape before long.

Different State, Same Opposition

Similar to what we saw unfold elsewhere, there are plenty of opponents to legal sports betting in Iowa. Religious organizations and plenty of lawmakers have made their opposition to legalized sports betting clear.

Their claim is that passing such a bill would only add to gambling addiction and crime. Clearly, these fears were not as pervasive in Iowa, as the legislation was passed.

Now we play the waiting game in order to see if Governor Reynolds will, in fact, sign the bill. As we mentioned, all signs are pointing to yes.

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