Iowa Sports Betting Legislation Moving Swiftly Through Statehouse

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Iowa sports betting

Mirroring Iowa sports betting bills are quickly advancing in the state legislature.

On Thursday, Senate Study Bill 1168 passed the Senate State Government Committee on an 8-6 vote.

Similar legislation House Study Bill 198 was approved by a subcommittee following a hearing with stakeholders and now moves to the full House State Government Committee.

Chairman Bobby Kauffman told the Globe Gazette he expects it to get a vote next week.

“The legislature has two options,” Kauffman told the newspaper. “Option one, we can stick our head in the sand, click our heels and really hope this goes away. Option two is to regulate and tax it.”

Highlights of Iowa sports betting bills

This is a bill that would allow the state’s 19 casinos, as well as horse racing tracks and other “gambling structures” — but not the state lottery — to apply for licenses to offer IA sports betting. The legislation would:

Opposition from sports leagues

The bills do not include an integrity fee or royalty to professional sports leagues. A league lobbyist voiced opposition at Thursday’s House hearing but interestingly did not ask for a fee.

Christoper Rants, a lobbyist for the NBA, MLB and PGA, asked for a requirement that licensees purchase official league data and for leagues to have input on which in-game bets would be allowed.

What’s next in Iowa

There are now 10 sports betting bills in the Iowa legislature, but these are the ones with momentum.

The Senate bill is the first Iowa sports betting legislation to make it through a committee.

Iowa also considered sports betting bills last year, but a bill never made it out of committee and the session ended just prior to the Supreme Court decision to strike down PASPA.

The 2019 Iowa legislative session is scheduled to go until May 3.