AP NEWS

Sports betting passes Iowa House, goes to governor

April 23, 2019

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa House passed a bill Monday that legalizes for the first time in Iowa betting on sporting events and fantasy sports, sending it to the governor for consideration.

It passed 67-31 on Monday night. The Senate gave its approval last week and the bill now goes to Gov. Kim Reynolds who has said she’ll await the final version of bill to decide whether she’ll sign it.

The bill authorizes the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission to establish rules for betting on professional, collegiate and international sporting events, including motor racing.

It excludes betting on some events, including minor leagues and in-state college team players.

The bill also legalizes fantasy sports contests and internet fantasy sports betting but delays betting based on college sporting event statistics until May 2020.

The commission regulates the 19 state-licensed casinos in Iowa. Once the rules are set up by the commission as early as this summer sports bets can be placed at casinos or on a mobile application they establish.

Sports betting would be limited to those 21 and older, and the bill sets a 6.75% tax on net receipts. Taxes and licensing fees could bring in estimated annual revenue of $2.3 million to $4 million annually.

The Senate approved the bill Wednesday 31-18 with no debate.

Iowa lawmakers decided earlier this year to authorize the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission to oversee sports betting rejecting offers from other groups including the Iowa Lottery, an Iowa horse racing group and professional sports leagues.

Opponents of gambling expansion spoke out during House debate.

“How much longer is this going to go on? How many other, in my view, quasi-nefarious schemes are we going to come up with for more money? This is an exercise in greed, avarice if you will, and it troubles me greatly that we’re going to create new addicts,” said Democratic Rep. Scott Ourth.

Republican Rep. Bobby Kaufmann said the bill will allow people who need help with gambling addiction to get it while giving those who want the freedom to legally bet on sports the opportunity to do so in Iowa.

“I’m thinking that we’re kidding ourselves if we think we can make this go away. Doing nothing is not an option. Sticking our head in the sand is not option. Hoping that people get help when they’re placing bets in dark alleys with bookies whose collection method is a threat to kneecap you isn’t good for anybody,” he said.

States began legalizing sports gambling last year after the U.S. Supreme Court ended Nevada’s monopoly.

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