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

Written By Matthew Kredell on March 18, 2019
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.”

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Matthew Kredell

Matthew started his career as a sportswriter at the Los Angeles Daily News, where he covered the NFL, Kobe-Shaq three-peat, Pete Carroll’s USC football teams, USC basketball, pro tennis, Kings hockey and fulfilled his childhood dream of sitting in the Dodgers’ dugout. His reporting on efforts to legalize sports betting began in 2010, when Playboy Magazine flew him to Prague to hang out with Calvin Ayre and show how the NFL was pushing US money overseas by fighting expansion of regulated sports betting across the country. A USC journalism alum, Matt also has written on a variety of topics for Men’s Journal, Los Angeles magazine, LA Weekly and

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