As well as bets on fantasy sports

Iowa legalizes sports betting

Lawmakers had approved the bill on April 22, and the proposed law was only awaiting the governor's signature to become effective.
Reading time 1:51 min
With Gov. Kim Reynolds signature of a sports wagering and fantasy sports bill, Iowa has officially joined the list of states which have begun allowing wagers on sporting events in the US.

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed proposed legislation on Monday which authorizes gambling on college and professional sports in Iowa.

Lawmakers had approved the bill on April 22, and the proposed law was only awaiting the governor's signature to become effective. 

There are now eight states in addition to Nevada that have introduced full-scale legalized sports gambling and opened sportsbooks ever since the United States Supreme Court voted in May 2018 to allow states to pass their own laws either allowing or prohibiting betting on professional and college sports.

The others are:

  • Delaware, the first state to begin offering sports wagering, and where bets generated over USD 322,000 just the first day;
  • New Jersey, whose governor initiated legal proceedings to challenge the federal ban before the US Supreme Court, clearing the way for the rest of the nation;
  • Mississippi, where sports betting became a reality in August 2018;
  • New Mexico;
  • Pennsylvania;
  • Rhode Island, whose legislators introduced a mobile sports betting bill which became effective in March; and
  • West Virginia.

Iowa's legislation allows residents 21 years and older to wager on sporting events at any of Iowa's 19 casinos and online if they visit a casino once in person to prove they are at least 21, USA Today reports. It also legalizes bets on fantasy sports through websites and apps like DraftKings and FanDuel.

There are certain restrictions. While Iowans can bet on the result of college games, the law does not allow in-game proposition bets on college sports, like how many points a certain player will score.

Republican lawmakers, who led the passage of the legislation this year, have spoken of it in terms of bringing an underground market out of the shadows so it can be regulated. While the legislation takes effect immediately, some of the rules still need to be ironed out.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, which will regulate sports betting in Iowa, previously said it would start to develop rules for casinos to implement once Reynolds signed the legislation. Those rules would likely be implemented in July or August, before college sports and NFL games start in the fall.

The commission would likely use its emergency rule-making procedures, which means the rules would be adopted more quickly than usual. But it would also mean that the Administrative Rules Review Committee could alter them later.

The law is the result of months of debate about who should be in charge of the new gambling system. Lawmakers considered at least four competing proposals from the Iowa Lottery, professional sports leagues, the horse racing industry and casinos for how to organize the new system before casinos won out.

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