• The Iowa sports betting bill would put casinos in charge of operating sportsbooks in the state.
  • Mobile sports betting in Iowa will only be accessible to those who register in-person at a licensed casino first.
  • Iowa Governor Reynolds has not officially indicated whether or not she will sign the bill.

DES MOINES, Iowa – The potential for legal sports betting in Iowa is right at the finish line now. After the Iowa State House of Representatives voted to pass Senate bill IA SF 617 by a comfortable margin of 67-31, the only hurdle standing in the way of the proposed legislation from becoming law is a signature from Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.

Details of the bill

IA SF 617 would allow anyone above the age of 21 to place sports bets at any of the state’s 19 casinos. The bill would also allow those casinos to host their own state-wide mobile wagering platforms, granted that users physically register themselves at the casino property.

Daily fantasy sports players would also be able to legally enjoy using sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel.

As far as what the state would get, casinos seeking to offer this type of gaming would have to pay a license fee of $45,000 and pay a tax rate of 7.5% on any legal sports betting revenue they collect.

This was not enough for certain state officials. Those opposed to the bill claim that it will increase gambling addiction in the state.

“The powerful gambling industry has captured Iowa,” said Iowa Senator Joe Bolkcom. “It’s a predatory industry like big tobacco and big vape.”

However, proponents of the bill believe that they have the means to counteract that possible problem. Iowa House Rep. Ashley Hinson has confirmed that the chamber is working towards providing $300,000 to gambling addiction programs.

“We actually have a separate bill in appropriations that we are going to double the money going to those funds, so in terms of getting people the help they need, we are going to provide additional resources to make sure that happens,” said Hinson.

To sign or not to sign

As far as whether or not Governor Reynolds will sign the measure, remains to be a mystery.

Though she has not publicly announced that she will sign a sports betting bill, during her campaign run she hinted at the possibility.

“You know, I think it needs to be regulated,” said Governor Reynolds.“It’s happening. It’s happening to a big extent.”

She will now have three days to decide whether or not to sign off on IA SF 617 once it reaches her desk. However, if it arrives after the session concludes then her time frame will be extended to 30 days.

If an extension isn’t needed and she approves the bill, then the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission would begin to create official rules and regulation for casinos to follow. Iowa sports betting would then be in full form in time for the 2019 football season.

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