Iowa Governor Signs Sports Betting Bill into Law
Sports betting is now officially legal in Iowa since Governor Kim Reynolds signed a bill this week that allows betting on professional and college sports in the state. Legislators had passed a bill within the last month that had bipartisan support. The bill will allow residents and visitors of Iowa who are 21 and over to bet on sporting events online or at any of the state’s 19 casinos. The legislation also legalizes bets on fantasy sports.
Governor Legalizes Sports Betting After No Indications
Prior to signing, Governor Reynolds had not indicated if she supported the bill or not. The Des Moines Register reported that a governor spokesperson shared further details about this signing:
“Governor Reynolds believes that legalizing sports betting will bring this practice out of an unregulated black market. This law will regulate, tax, and police sports betting in a safe and responsible way.”
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission will regulate sports gambling in the state. The Commission should have regulations ready in July or August this year, just in time for NFL and college football games that start in the fall.
Keith Miller, a gaming law expert and a law professor from Drake, says that sports gambling will pull a lot of people into Iowa casinos:
“I think the way casinos look at it in Iowa is they may not make a lot of money off the sports betting themselves, but it brings people in the doors. They may gamble on other things. They may eat in the restaurants.”
It should be noted that this law doesn’t allow for in-game prop betting on college sporting events. State leaders felt that collegiate in-game prop bets could lead to possible integrity issues. However, sports bettors can place prop bets on professional games.
Opposition to Sports Betting
Not everyone is supportive of legal sports betting, however. Consumer Credit of Des Moines, a non-profit that helps get people out of debt, says that gambling is a problem. Tom Coats, the director there, said the new sports betting law in Iowa could increase the number of cases of gambling addiction in the state.
He’s particularly concerned for young men, for whom newly legal sports betting could be a gateway for other gambling. According to KCCI, Coats made the following comments:
“I was told years ago to shut up because this is gonna generate more business for me. Even if that were true, I would not sit still and say, ‘Oh, great.’ It’s not a good day for Iowa.”
Sports Betting in the United States
Iowa is the eighth state to legalize sports betting since the Supreme Court overturned the federal ban on sports betting outside of Nevada in May 2018. That law, PASPA, or the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, was 26 years old. New Jersey took the law all the way to the Supreme Court and was ultimately successful in having the law overturned as unconstitutional. Now, each state has the option to legalize and regulate sports gambling.
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