Iowa could be the first Midwest state to enter the sports betting market as the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission plans a special session to launch sports betting.
The next commission meeting will convene on July 30. If all goes well, the Telegraph Herald of Dubuque, Iowa, reported that Iowa could see sports betting go live as early as Aug. 15.
The meeting will cover general sports betting as well as daily fantasy sports, both of which were banned in Iowa until being legalized in May.
With the meeting taking place right at the end of July, Iowa faces an extremely quick turn-around time to get sports betting and daily fantasy sports live by Aug. 15.
However, Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission Administrator Brian Ohorilko confirmed to the Telegraph Herald that 18 of the state’s 19 casinos had already applied for sports betting licenses.
"If rules were adopted on Tuesday, casinos will be working to get their controls (state regulated operations) approved," Ohorilko said, according to the report. "There would likely be a number of controls that (the commission) is looking at between July 30 and Aug. 15."
Given the 16-day turnaround that would be required, the Aug. 15 launch date could be considered rather aggressive. However, Ohorilko further confirmed that he expected that several casinos would be ready to go immediately.
As reported by KCRG.com of Cedar Rapids, casinos will have to submit internal controls at least 30 days prior to offering sports betting or daily fantasy games. If sports betting is to go live on Aug. 15, it means that casinos had to submit their controls by July 16.
Required plans for casinos include how casinos would be accepting wagers, floor plans defining a wagering area including kiosks, identification and treatment of problem gamblers, and restrictions on people directly related to wagerable sports (athletes, coaches, trainers, etc, and people directly related).
One major drawback to Iowa's sports betting laws, however, includes the caveat that bettors will have to travel to the nearest casino and register to play in person during the first year of a sportsbook's operation.
It remains to be seen if this law will cause sports betting to take an initial hit upon launch, but it will severely limit the choice of sportsbooks available for prospective bettors during the first year of betting action.
The Midwest as a whole is taking after sports betting about as fast as one would expect once the numbers from New Jersey began to become public knowledge. Indiana began to issue temporary sports betting licenses to get the state off the ground, but that state's target date is Sept. 1.
Illinois hasn’t begun handing out sports betting licenses yet. Instead, the state is doing work to scope out and build a massive new casino much closer to the heart of Chicago. The most recent news was Mayor Lori Lightfoot releasing five possible locations for the new casino.
With other states slowly moving toward legalizing sports betting, Iowa could be uniquely positioned to grab the Midwest market by launching before anyone else, should the Aug. 15 date be met. The sports world of Iowa will be watching the commission’s meeting next week.