Lawmakers in Des Moines will have a tough decision to make when trying to figure out who might oversee sports betting in Iowa and where bets may be placed.
One option would allow for bets to be held in casinos and on mobile devices, the next would be online and available statewide, and a third option would be to have it in grocery stores and gas stations.
Each choice would benefit a different stakeholder, but a Senate Subcommittee meeting scheduled to be held at the capitol this Wednesday should narrow down these choices moving forward.
Who Is Backing Each Bill?
The first bill to be reviewed is HSB 101 and it currently has the support of the Iowa Gaming Association. It would allow the 19 commercial casinos in the state to offer in-person sports betting and build their own mobile betting platform.
The second bill, HSB 102, would develop a platform for online fantasy sports and would include an integrity fee to be paid professional sports leagues. The NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL would all benefit from this bill passing.
The third bill, HSB 103, empowers the Iowa Lottery to be able to offer limited sports wagering wherever they currently have other lottery games. This means people would be able to buy a sports betting ticket in the same places they buy scratch-off tickets.
Each option is enticing to Iowa residents because it means gambling on sports will be convenient and easily accessible. The real dilemma is how to keep the most money in the state while still being fair to everyone that plays a part in the activity.
What Have Other States Done In This Situation?
Since the repeal of PASPA in 2018, nine states have legalized gambling on sports in some way or another. Each one of those states has authorized the casinos within their borders to accept sports bets.
States such as Pennsylvania and New Jersey have even allowed those casinos to offer a mobile sports betting app. Those apps would be geo-fenced so that only people inside state lines would be able to use them.
It’s also worth noting that no state has included integrity fees into their bills or have allowed retail locations to offer sports betting. However, Iowa legislators have the freedom to shape their laws in a way that they believe will be best serve their residents.