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Iowa Governor Inks Sports Betting Legislation

Iowa made an important step towards launching wagering on sports after the state’s governor inked a new piece of legislation approved in April 2019.

Last month, Governor Kim Reynolds put her signature to Senate File 617, a new proposal aimed at making sports betting legal at all 19 land and water-based venues operating in the state. In addition to this, the new proposal would also allow betting through mobile casinos.

Offering Both Land-Based and Online Betting

Betting regulations are yet to be made by the state’s regulator, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, and according to the available estimates, land-based sports betting operation could be launched by the time the new NFL season starts in September.

The debates between legislators in both state chambers were heated at moment, and Governor Reynolds successfully managed to keep her cards close to her chest. Her signature has made Iowa the fourth state to have – at least formally – made wagering on sports legal since the beginning of the year. Other three are Montana, Indiana and Tennessee, while the latter’s betting bill will become law without the Governor’s signature.

The state’s sports betting legislation brings a tax rate of 7.5%, with 6.75% taxation on betting revenue, plus a 0.75% representing a portion going to local charities. Under the provision of the new legislation, license fees are set at $45,000, while operators will have to pay renewal fees of $10,000, which is quite a reasonable figure.

Out-of-State Customers Can Play as Well

The Hawkeye State has already made initial forecasts about the share of betting proceeds on a yearly basis, which is set from $2.3 million and $4 million. Each of the sports betting licensees will be able to have two online wagering operations, which opens up plenty of opportunities for them to partner with online operators. Some of the casinos in Iowa have already formed such partnerships with William Hill and PointsBet.

Under the new sports betting legislation, customers from out of state will also be able to place their wagers online, but only if they meet two requirements. They will need to open an account at one of the casinos operating in Iowa, and they’ll be able to bet online only within the state’s borders. According to available information, the in-person registration will no longer be obligatory from 2021.

Governor Reynolds put her signature only one day before the anniversary of the historic decision made by the US Supreme Court, which overturned the controversial Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (also known as PASPA). This move effectively put an end to a federal ban on sports betting, which had been in effect for more than two and a half decades.  

Following the repeal of PASPA, a total of eight states have made wagering on sports legal, while many others are seriously considering to do so in the future. At this moment, it is really difficult to predict how many of them will decide to join the party until the next anniversary.