HSB 200, a bill that would expand sports betting in Iowa by allowing cashless betting at casinos and expanded bet offerings, passed in the Iowa House with a 78-21 vote.

  • The Iowa House of Representatives passed HSB 200, a bill that would expand available bet types and allow cashless betting at casinos, earlier this week by a 78-21 vote.
  • Proponents say the bill will generate more income for Iowa while allowing more freedom to bettors; opponents say it could increase instances of gambling addiction in Iowa.

DES MOINES, Iowa – A bill that would remove several gambling restrictions in Iowa is gaining steam after it passed by a 78-21 vote in the Iowa House earlier this week.

HSB 200 Allows Cashless In-Person Betting, Expanded Bet Types

The bill, HSB 200, would expand legal sports betting in Iowa to include several new offerings. Chief among them is a proposed state-wide cashless wagering system at Iowa’s casino venues.

According to Rep. Shannon Lundgren, this would be an important step for sports bettors of Iowa because many people no longer carry cash, but instead utilize digital wallets on their smartphones. Lundgren also believes that the bill contains valuable consumer protections.

“The cashless e-wagering system allows you to set a time limit and an amount… Once that amount is gone, you have to wait until your time limit is up in order to reload it,” said  Lundgren.

That is far from the only measure HSB 200 seeks to accomplish – the bill would also expand the types of bet offerings that sportsbooks in Iowa are allowed to offer.

Perhaps most notable is the language that would permit sportsbooks to offer betting odds on Esports, which is rapidly growing in popularity worldwide.

Moreover, wagering on charity events featuring professional athletes – such as the NBA All-Star Game or golf tournaments – would be permitted under HSB 200.

Opponents Say HSB 200 Could Increase Problem Gambling

Not every Iowa Representative is on board with the gaming expansion, however; according to Rep. Sandy Salmon, the bill would increase the risk of Iowans succumbing to gambling addiction.

“This makes the availability and access to gambling so much easier, thus increasing its danger and addictive power… People tend to think that when something is legal that it is o.k. and safe and even helpful and even that it can’t hurt you – and that’s a lie,” said Salmon.

While Salmon’s concerns over a potential spike in gambling addiction as a result of HSB 200 are legitimate, they may be a touch overblown. According to Yale Medicine, only 1% of adults develop a gambling disorder.

Moreover, research  performed by financial analysis site WalletHub ranked Iowa as the 27th-most “gambling-addicted state.”

Currently, 30 states plus Washington, D.C. offer legal sports betting of some sort, meaning Iowa is one of the top three states when it comes to curtailing gambling addiction among states with sports betting.

Even more interesting is the fact that Iowa currently offers 18 state-regulated online sportsbooks (which have not required cash to fund since January 2021), which means this bill would not expand access to sports betting at all.

Iowa currently offers a comprehensive, full-service sports betting industry, while being successful at preventing problem gambling.

There is no reason to believe a few minor changes to the sports betting industry – cashless in-person wagering and betting on Esports and charity events – will significantly increase the number of Iowans with gambling problems.

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