On March 13, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed legislation that approved legal betting on professional and college sports in the state.
And the University of Iowa is in the process of making sure its student-athletes are made aware of the current changes in the state gambling laws.
Iowa residents might be able to place legal sports bets as early as Aug. 15. If that happens it will be well in time for college football betting (and NFL betting too) to begin in the state.
Casino and Iowa state regulators are moving forward with provisions for the sports betting law that is in place. Casinos will still have to fulfill required regulations before they can begin taking legal sports bets.
Longtime Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz has used guest speakers in the past to talk to his players prior to the season. Now with sports betting becoming legal and Iowa set to kickoff the regular season with a home tilt Aug. 31 against Miami (Ohio), the timing is prevalent.
Neighboring Illinois is dealing with the same topics right now with its state and student-athletes.
“We’re going to do everything we can to educate and make sure we don’t end up in a difficult situation to the best of our ability,’’ University of Iowa Director of Athletics Gary Barta said this month at the Big Ten kickoff according to the Quad City Times.
With the presence of an illegal online sports betting market, this isn’t that much different of a landscape for everyone involved, including the college staff and student-athletes.
“Sports betting illegally has been around for decades,’’ Barta said. “We’re doing doubling down, pun intended, on education. Right now, we have to make sure that our student-athletes are reminded of the ways that gambling can intervene in your life.’’
Barta made a very important point on a situation that could involve a friend of a student-athlete perhaps reaching out for inside information such as injuries on teammates.
Also with that worry, Barta said that there have been specific situations in the past where that certain friend could wind up taking in a payment for feeding that info to the friend/bettor.
“There are stories of those things happening in the past. We’re reminding our student-athletes not to put themselves in those conversations,’’ Barta said, according to the Sioux City Journal.
As well as his student-athletes, Barta will have staff members in the athletic department -- student staff members, coaches and players -- who will be educated about the issues surrounding the new gambling news and overall dangers involved, according to the Sioux City Journal story.
Publicly coming out about this topic is a smart and protective measure by the University of Iowa sports department.
Iowa is on the fast track toward legal sports betting and the Iowa athletic department is smart to take precautionary moves regarding this issue.