Iowa and Montana are both just a governor’s signature away from becoming the latest states to legalize sports betting, with bills now before each respective governor for them to sign that would authorize wagering on sports in their states.
Iowa’s path to being on the cusp of legalizing sports betting began when the Senate overwhelmingly voted to approve a sports betting legalization bill last Wednesday. The House then passed SF 617 by a 67-31 vote on Monday night, sending it to Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds, who has previously stated publicly that the state should regulate legalized sports betting.
Reynolds signing SF 617 into law would make Iowa one of the more gaming-friendly states in the country and the ninth to legalize sports betting. In addition to a tax percentage on revenues that would only trail Nevada among states that offer legal waging on sports, betters could also wager online and not be required to be physically at a state-licensed casino.
Reynolds now has three days to either sign the bill into law or veto it.
There is bipartisan support among Iowa lawmakers to legalize sports betting. And though unlikely that Reynolds would veto the bill, if she did issue a veto there is enough support in Iowa’s House and Senate to override her.
Montana Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock received two separate bipartisan bills from state lawmakers last week and is likely to sign one or both sometime this week.
Even if Bullock opted to veto either or both bills, he would likely be overridden by members of Montana’s General Assembly as enough lawmakers are in favor of passing legalized sports betting that they could do so without Bullock’s support.
SB 330 passed the Senate rather easily (36-14), and after lawmakers in the House made minor changes, they then voted by a large majority (90-9) to pass the bill. The Senate voted on the House amendments Thursday, passing the bill by a 33-17 vote onto Bullock.
HB 725 also moved through both chambers in a rather straightforward manner. The House originally passed it by an 88-10 vote, then the Senate voted 34-16 in favor on Wednesday.
While both bills before Bullock would make legal sports wagering in Montana, there are tangible differences between each measure.
The bill introduced by the Senate would permit betting on sports at facilities that hold state liquor licenses, such as bars and restaurants, if they applied for and received the appropriate license from the state’s Department of Justice. The bill pushed by the House would allow sports betting at kiosks and convenience stores, and grant regulatory duties to the state lottery.