After three weeks of waiting, Iowa became the tenth state to allow full-scale betting as Governor Kim Reynolds signed a measure making wagering legal on pro and college sports.
Citing the need to squash black market gambling inside the state, Gov. Reynolds signed the popular legislation on Monday, May 15th.
“Gov. Reynolds believes that legalizing sports betting will bring this practice out of an unregulated black market,” said the governor’s spokesman, Pat Garrett.
“This law will regulate, tax, and police sports betting in a safe and responsible way.”
With Gov. Reynolds’ signature, the legislation takes effect immediately in Iowa.
The regulation will fall under the umbrella of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, who will oversee sports betting in the state.
With the passing of the measure, the Commission can set the rules that will govern wagering.
The Commission will use its emergency rule-making procedures to adopt the amendments quickly and without much room for debate.
The rules are expected to be in place by mid-to-late summer with the hope that betting will be open before pro and college football season begins in late August.
The full-scale bill legalizes in-person, online and daily fantasy sports for Iowa’s citizens.
The bill provides residents 21 and older the opportunity to bet on a sporting event in one of the state’s 19 casinos.
Residents can also place wagers on their phone through an app once they make an appearance at a casino in the state and prove they are 21 years or older.
Official apps to be used in Iowa will at the discretion of the casinos and the exclusive deals they strike with online and mobile application providers.
Online operators such as FanDuel and DraftKings are expected to make their apps available in Iowa.
Also, Fox Sports’ new app, Fox Bet, could become a player in the state’s opening months of betting if the technology is finalized.
Another wrinkle to the Iowa bill is that there will be no in-game proposition bets on college games until May of 2020.
Proposition bets are wagers made on details of a game, such as how many points a specific player will score in the game.
Lawmakers wanted to prevent college student-athletes from being approached by illegal bookmakers to shave points or alter the outcome of games through bribery in the early stages of the law.
Betting on minor leagues in baseball and basketball has also been outlawed with the passage of the bill.
With Gov. Reynolds waiting three weeks to sign the bill, opposition mounted against several amendments of the bill.
But the main criticism of the bill was the inclusion of online betting. Critics argued that mobile betting would severely hurt families.
“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,” said Brian Carter, spokesperson for Iowa’s Methodist Church.
Even with Gov. Reynolds signature, critics argue that the cost to the state in terms of gambling addiction won’t be worth the $4 million yearly that sports betting will bring to the state.
Criticisms aside, Iowa will lean on the experiences of early adopting states such as New Jersey and Rhode Island to see where mistakes can be avoided and how to generate revenue to help the state.
But with the full-scale release of sports betting, Iowa is a step ahead in making sure they maximize every potential dollar coming their way.
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