Iowa moved one step closer to providing the necessary governmental infrastructure for full-scale sports betting. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission is close to voting on its proposed set of rules and regulations regarding legal sports betting within the Hawkeye State.
Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill in May to legalize sports betting for people 21 years and older at any of Iowa's 19 casinos. The bill also legalized online sports betting so long as the bettor first visits a casino in person for age verification. Additionally, the bill legalized bets on fantasy sports.
While the legislation went into effect immediately, the state's rules and regulations providing oversight still needed to be created, presented for public comment and approved. The latest draft of the rules is posted at the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission’s website. There were not any snags at the public hearing, and a final vote is expected by the end of the month.
Judging by the lack of public voices at the hearing, Iowans are ready for legal sportsbook choices.
The draft proposal was posted on July 1 so that the public could read through the rules and ask questions at the public hearing, July 11 in Altoona. However, only two people spoke at the meeting and both were representatives of sports betting companies and casinos.
“I was surprised that we did not get many comments — that we only had two today,” Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission administrator Brian Ohorilko said.
Ohorilko said the recommendations that were received at the hearing from the two industry representatives would be discussed and considered in full, but that the current draft was probably already very close to what the rules would be in its final form.
The committee’s final vote on the draft proposal is scheduled for July 30.
That means Iowa could start accepting casino applications on that date, and that everything seems to be on track to be finalized by mid-August.
“The thought is that we would put those rules back on that agenda for emergency adoption. If they were adopted by the commission, there would be an effective date sometime in mid-August,” Ohorilko said. “That would allow for the casinos to finish up some housekeeping things necessary to go live with sports wagering.”
It makes sense Iowa would want to have its sports betting program up and running by the beginning of fall. After all, that’s when football season starts which is considered one of the very busiest times of the year in U.S. sports betting.
While some states have recently passed sports betting laws that prohibit making bets on in-state collegiate teams and players, Iowa’s law only prohibits in-game proposition bets on collegiate sports, meaning Iowa bettors won’t be able to back individual player performances but can, for instance, still back the Iowa Hawkeyes or Iowa State Cyclones to win their big games during this upcoming football season.