Iowa just moved up to the front of the legal sports betting line. On Tuesday, February 19, an Iowa subcommittee moved forward with Senator Roby Smith’s Senate Study Bill 1168, which would legalize sports betting, state-wide mobile sports betting, and betting on fantasy sports.
This is not the first sports betting bill to be introduced in the state as there are eight others, but Smith’s bill seems to be the most serious effort and may have the backing of the state’s casinos.
What’s In The Bill?
The bill lacks many important details, including a tax rate, licensing fees, and what will be done with revenue from sports betting. The tax rate, application/renewal fee, and where sports betting revenue will go will all be determined by the general assembly.
The bill does allow for betting on both professional and collegiate sports. However, amateur and minor league sports betting will not be allowed.
When it comes to mobile betting, the bill would allow up to two “skins” and would require in-person registration until 2021. Sports betting would be allowed on an “excursion gambling boat, gambling structure, or racetrack enclosure.”
Under the bill, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission would regulate the industry.
The Senate bill now heads to the Ways and Means Committee, where further details will be discussed.
Iowa was in serious contention for sports betting legislation last year, but a bill never made it out of committee before the session ended. The US Supreme Court decision last year to strike down the federal law preventing states from allowing sports betting occurred just after the end of Iowa’s legislative session.
Iowa’s 2019 legislative session is scheduled until May 3.
Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino believes that sports betting will be coming to Iowa soon. Last month the facility announced that it will partner with William Hill run its sportsbook, which will be housed in an 8,600-square foot venue that is already under construction.
With 19 commercial casinos and a number of tribal casinos in the state, Prairie Meadows is the first Iowa casino to contract with a sports betting operator.