Is This Heaven? Governor Signs Iowa Sports Betting Into Law

Written By Adam Candee on May 13, 2019 - Last Updated on May 8, 2020
Iowa sports betting

With the stroke of the governor’s pen, Iowa sports betting emerged Monday from the cornfields.

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed SF 617 into law after weeks of deliberation, making Iowa the third state to approve legal sports betting in 2019. Montana and Indiana enacted the first two laws.

Iowa sports betting basics

Here are the particulars of the new law:

  • 6.75% tax rate on sports betting revenue
  • $45,000 license fee, $10,000 renewal fee
  • Mobile betting via intrastate means only (this appears targeted at Wire Act compliance)
  • Up to two skins per licensee
  • In-person registration for mobile apps until Jan. 1, 2021
  • Ban on prop bets involving in-state college teams, but betting on college games generally is allowed.
  • Regulated by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission

As far as sports betting bills go, this one is pretty well conceived. American Gaming Association executive Sara Slane published a statement in response to the news:

“The state of Iowa has set its legal sports betting market up for success with a reasonable tax rate, mobile wagering, strong consumer protections and provisions that put responsible gaming at the forefront. Through the leadership of champions like Iowa Gaming Association President and CEO Wes Ehrecke, Iowans will now have a safe alternative to the illegal market that has thrived in the Hawkeye State and across the country…”

As Slane subsequently noted, no US jurisdiction with legalized sports betting has an integrity fee in its law — including Iowa.

Partnerships already in place

The governor’s signature was never a sure thing, but the path to legalization was fairly smooth. Some casino operators were even optimistic enough to forge their IA sports betting alliances in advance.

Prairie Meadows was first to do so, aligning with William Hill back in January. Thereafter, Catfish Bend teamed up with US newcomer PointsBet.

Both DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook should have access to the market, too. FanDuel has a partnership with Boyd Gaming, while DraftKings recently teamed up with Caesars. Both casino companies own multiple properties in the state.

Iowa has 19 casinos that are eligible to offer sports betting, and the two-skin provision could put as many as 38 brands in the marketplace.

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Adam Candee

Adam Candee is the managing editor of Legal Sports Report. He covers sports business and news from Las Vegas, where he works as a sports radio host for ESPN, BetQL, and VSiN. Adam is a former editor and reporter at the Las Vegas Sun, Arizona Daily Sun, and KLAS-TV. He can be reached at [email protected]

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