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True to its Midwest roots, Iowa continues to advance toward legal sports betting with quiet, steady movement as it aims for a late-summer launch.
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) held a public hearing Thursday to discuss its proposed regulations to govern Iowa sports betting. Sources told Legal Sports Report the meeting went largely without issue, an unsurprising case given regulations that closely mirror Iowa’s recently passed sports betting law.
As nearby Indiana pushes toward a September 1 launch to open before the start of the NFL season, Iowa hopes to do the same. Retail sports wagering clearly can be ready sooner but the law allows for statewide mobile Iowa sports betting as well.
The draft regulations largely codify what’s already laid out in the bill that moved through the Iowa state legislature this spring. The law strikes a reasonable balance of fostering healthy market competition and addressing concerns of various interest groups:
The in-person requirement is a favorite as casinos concerned about losing on-property business from mobile sports betting. While the utility of in-state collegiate bans remains debatable at best, its popularity among state legislators in 2019 as a perceived sports betting integrity safeguard cannot be denied.
Those hoping to see Iowa sports betting prior to the September 5 start of the NFL can take heart in the IRGC schedule. The commission meets on July 30 and August 22, and it’s possible it could finalize sports betting regulations at either meeting.
The law also establishes oversight of daily fantasy sports by the IRGC as well. DFS certainly does not carry the cache it did in the pre-sports betting days, but the commission will carry responsibility for it as well.
As many as 19 casinos could become involved in Iowa sports betting in a fully mature market. In a state of more than 3 million people with populous neighboring states including Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois, Iowa could be poised to grow into a surprisingly robust market for both bettors and operators.
A reasonable tax structure and eventual statewide coverage of mobile sports wagering set up Iowa as a potential model for other states to look toward.