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Legal Sports Report

Iowa Sports Betting Bill Poised To Advance After Changes Bridge Partisan Gap

Iowa sports betting

After squeaking through its first committee mostly on party lines, Iowa sports betting legislation is poised to advance to the House floor.

It should happen with bipartisan support, thanks to changes being made in the Ways and Means Committee.

Following a 4-1 subcommittee vote Monday, H 648 will be amended and passed by more than a two-thirds margin Wednesday in the full committee, according to bill author Rep. Bobby Kaufmann.

With the newfound bipartisan support, Kaufmann tells Legal Sports Report he expects the sports betting bill to pass the House during the first week in April.

“I think the momentum is on our side,” Kaufmann said. “I know it’s a priority among leadership of both chambers to get this done. I’m shepherding it through and making the changes I have to make. I’m very confident in getting this done and think we have the wind at our backs.”

Amendments garner support from legislators

The following amendments will be made to H 648 on Wednesday, according to Kaufmann:

  • A ban of in-game bets on Iowa collegiate players.
  • Earmark 0.25 percent of the 6.75 percent in state taxes on gross gaming revenues to problem gambling.
  • Add an in-person requirement for mobile account registration for the first 18 months.
  • Extend the 11 percent of casino revenue that Prairie Meadows uses to subsidize its live horse racing program to sports betting revenue. This will soon drop to 6 percent, though, as Prairie Meadows goes over $200 million in total contributions to horse racing.

Changes have Iowa sports betting bill ready

Kaufmann’s amendment will include the in-person registration and horse racing stipulation, which is needed to gain the support of committee chair Lee Hein. It could end up facing scrutiny on the House floor and when syncing with the Senate bill.

The author indicated that the collegiate ban and earmark for problem gambling are amendments he is supporting to garner Democratic support for Iowa sports betting.

“The bottom line is this thing isn’t passing on the House floor without Democrat votes, so we have to make concessions and we’re doing that,” Kaufmann said.

In their opening committees, the House bill passed by only a 13-10 vote while the companion Senate bill from Sen. Roby Smith passed 8-6.

“I communicate regularly with Sen. Smith, we work well together and are getting things as close as possible,” Kaufmann said. “At the committee level, we might not be on the same page, but hopefully we’ll get them practically identical on the floor.”

Matthew Kredell
- Matthew began writing about legislative efforts to regulate online poker in 2007 after UIGEA interfered with his hobby of playing small-stakes online poker while working as a sportswriter at the Los Angeles Daily News. Covering the topic for Bluff Magazine, PokerNews and now Online Poker Report, he has interviewed four U.S. Congressmen and 20+ state legislators. His poker writing has been cited by The Atlantic, Politico.com and CNN.com. A freelance writer based in Los Angeles, Matt has written on a variety of topics for Playboy Magazine, Men's Journal, Los Angeles magazine, LA Weekly and ESPN.com.
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