Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed Senate File 617 into law on Monday, legalizing sports betting in the state. Though the law is effective immediately, no sports betting is available yet, as the regulations still need to be hammered out.
“Gov. Reynolds believes that legalizing sports betting will bring this practice out of an unregulated black market. This law will regulate, tax, and police sports betting in a safe and responsible way,” spokesman Pat Garrett told the Des Moines Register.
The bill passed a Senate vote 31-18 a month ago and after some amendments, passed the House 67-31 on April 22. Iowa is the third state to legalize sports betting this year, after Montana and Indiana.
Operators will have to pay a fee of $45,000 to apply for a license and then $10,000 for renewals; the tax rate will be 6.75 percent. Eligible licensees are the 19 casinos in Iowa. Sports betting can be done at any of the casinos (provided they open a sportsbook, of course), as well as online. Online wagering can only be done once a customer visits a casino in person to prove his/her identity. Each casino can have two online skins if they would like.
Sports betting will be overseen by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, which is the body that will develop the regulations. It anticipates that the regulations will go live in August.
“For right now, nothing really has changed,” Brian Ohorilko, administrator of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, told the Des Moines Register.
“If everything goes smoothly, then I think it is reasonable to expect that bets will be taken before football season,” he added.
We are now up to double-digit states with legalized sports betting, though not all of them have actually launched their industries yet. This has all come about from the overturn of PASPA almost exactly a year ago. PASPA, put into motion in 1992, made sports betting illegal in the United States. Four states – Nevada, Oregon, Montana, and Delaware – were grandfathered in, but Nevada was the only one with traditional, odds-based sports wagering.
And though it might seem like only getting into the double-digits in a year isn’t much, it is actually pretty incredible when you think about a) how slow the legislative process normally works, and b) how against sports betting state governments have been. They are clearly seeing the revenue opportunity in sports betting and realizing that people are going to do it regardless, so the state might as well get a piece of pie while at the same time protecting consumers via regulation.
Major media companies have also gotten to work. Recently, PokerStars and FOX announced that they will be creating a sports betting product (two, actually: one real-money, one play-money) called FOXBet and ESPN and Caesars announced a partnership to create sports betting content on the ESPN platforms.
The appetite for sports betting in the United States is strong; expect the majority of states to legalize it within the next few years.