Iowa May Offer Online Sports Betting If Approved by Governor

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The policymakers in Iowa have been busy, packing as much as possible into SF 617, a piece of legislation that will legalize sports betting in the state. If approved, it would open up the way for online sports betting as well. The appeal of a cashless transaction for sports betting is great, but so too is the fact that bettors will be able to place wagers from anywhere in the state on a mobile device or computer. This could potentially be a huge benefit, especially for the younger crowd who the casino operators want to draw in as clients.

Details About SF 617 Bill

Senate File 617, which is the legislation that will legalize sports betting on both college and pro sports as well as DFS sites, now sits on the desk of Governor Kim Reynolds, awaiting action. No matter whether she gives her veto or blessing, though, there’s already debate over online gambling going on in Iowa.

If approved, SF 617 would allow visitors and residents of Iowa who are 21 years old or older to set up “virtual wallets” at casinos licensed in Iowa for the purpose of placing online sports wagers.

Opposition to Sports Betting in Iowa

There isn’t full support for online gambling. Senator Joe Bolkcom, an Iowa City Democrat, is not as enthralled with the possibility of legal sports betting as some of his peers. According to The Gazette, as lawmakers cleared the newest expansion into online sports betting, Bolkcom waved around his smartphone and called it the new pocket casino for Iowans:

We’re getting ready to queue up the next generation of gamblers in Iowa. It will start with sports and lead to online slot machines that look a lot like your phone and who knows what else. Where will online gambling lead us?

Brian Carter is a man from Clive who lobbies on behalf of the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church. He says that gambling is addictive, and he’s asking the Governor to veto the “electronic market” that will come along with online betting:

Sports betting isn’t going to be a big deal, but if it goes online, that’s a big deal. I believe it’s a step too far.

Bolkcom went on to explain that developing a new platform for gambling, a predatory industry, only guarantees that the number of people in the state with gambling addictions will increase. He says that people are already addicted to Twitter, email, and Facebook. If we add in money, even more people will fall prey to addiction.

Sports Betting in Iowa

The 19 casinos in the state could apply for operators licenses to host sports gambling online and on-site under the regulations. In the first 18 months under the proposed law, online gamblers would have to pass both age and geographic requirements in order to set up a new account at a casino before gambling online. As of January 1, 2021, that on-site requirement to set up an account would end and all registration would take place online.

Participants would have the option to set up limits on their wagering, and legislators are also offering more funding for problem gambling treatment programs. Iowa legislation has come a long way since February when they scrapped all of the sports betting bills on the table. They decided to go in a different direction by working together to come up with a new bill. So far, that new bill has a lot of potential and is inching closer to becoming legalized.

Rick Rockwell

As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...

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