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Iowa Regulators Looking to Strengthen Underage Sports Betting Rules

August 30, 2023

Across the U.S., more than three dozen states have passed retail/mobile sports betting legislation. In almost every case, regulators have consistently expressed concerns about the possibility of minors getting access to online sports betting accounts. It's not a secret that minors have been gambling online for decades through offshore sportsbooks and casinos.

Preventing minors from gambling online is a hard thing to control. Recent accusations of online sports betting by underage Iowa college students and athletes have made that very clear. Given the breadth of the problem that seems to be growing, it looks like Iowa legislators are ready to take action.

Iowa Regulators Pushing Sports Betting Operators to Enforce Existing Laws

As part of Iowa's sports betting legislation package, it was made clear that Iowa residents need to be at least 21 years of age if they wish to use licensed online gambling sites. Apparently, this particular law is being violated more often than regulations would like. It's a case where kids will be kids and perhaps, regulators need to put more pressure on licensed sports betting operators to do more to enforce these laws.

In a recent meeting of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC), a discussion about rampant sports betting by minors was put on the table. Recognizing this held the potential to create significant social and personal problems, leaders introduced two new regulations that are intended to curb sports betting access for minors.

In fact, two issues seem to need to be addressed. First, minors are clearly finding ways to open their own online sports betting accounts. That one is on licensed operators that aren't doing enough to verify customer information. Second, minors are using accounts that are owned by friends and relatives who do meet the state's minimum online gambling age requirement. This one is on accountholders who are providing this illegal access.

To combat both of these problems, IRGC regulators are proposing that licensed operators post stricter disclaimers that make it absolutely clear that the aforementioned activities are illegal by state law. Here are the actual disclaimers that are being proposed:

(1) "Account sharing is prohibited. Each account holder must not share usernames or passwords with other people. Each wager made on an account shall be made by only the registered account holder, and shall not be made on behalf of any other individual."

(2) "Persons under the age of 21 are prohibited from wagering. No person shall attempt to circumvent account setup procedures designed to prohibit wagering from individuals under the age of 21. Registered account holders shall not attempt to assist in the placement of a wager by any individual under the age of 21."

The language in both of these disclaimers represents an attempt to remove ignorance as a reason for violating these regulations. If passed, will they work? That remains to be seen, but for now, regulators feel the need to up the regulatory ante. This is the way they want to handle these issues before they start taking more drastic measures.


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