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Iowa Moves Quickly on Sports Betting Legislation


Across the nation, there appears no slowing of the sports gambling locomotive that's sweeping across the US. With Iowa now set to join the sports betting fray, there will be 15 states that have already passed sports betting legislation following last year's decision by the US Supreme Court to lift the federal government's ban against sports betting outside of Nevada. Should Iowa pass all the required legislation by this week, they will join seven other states (Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Tennessee, North Carolina) to do so just this calendar year.

Currently, the Iowa state legislature is working to get all the required rules and regulations in place that will guide the state's sports betting activities. The law permitting such activities is already signed, and the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) has already taken over responsibility for overseeing said activities.

With the rules and regulations expected to be approved by the Gaming Commission by the end of July, there's a presumption Iowa sports gamblers will be able to start legally betting on NFL games by August 15. The only hedge against that happening was put forth by Brian Ohorilko, the administrator of the IRGC, who made clear there are a few minor corrections that need to be made before the rules and regulations are ready for final consideration and approval. With that said, everything should go smoothly, putting sports betting operators in business by the August 15 deadline.

At this point, 18 of the state's 19 land-based casinos are expected to have the necessary licensing to provide sports betting markets by the end of July. The sports betting bill does allow for online and mobile sports betting. However, bettors will be required to register and make deposits/withdrawals in person until 2021 when these requirement will be reviewed by the commission.

Along with online and mobile sports betting provisions, the sports betting legislation calls for a 7.5% tax on operators and an "in-play" wagering ban on in-state college football and basketball teams such as the Iowa Hawkeyes and Iowa State Cyclones.

With Illinois not yet ready to start offering actual sports betting, Iowa holds the distinction of being the only Midwestern state ready to offer legalized sports betting. Without any competition coming from the south or west of its borders, experts are expecting the state's bookmakers to do quite well until some of the neighboring states pass the required legislation to offer legalized sports betting to its resident.

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