Iowa Sports Betting Now Legal After Governor’s Signature

Iowa Sports Betting Now Legal After Governor’s Signature
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Iowa sports betting was legalized Monday after Gov. Kim Reynold signed the state’s bill legalizing sports betting into law. Iowa becomes the third state to approve legal wagering in 2019, trailing Montana and Indiana, and helps to highlight the increasing momentum for sports betting almost exactly one year after a federal ban was struck down by the Supreme Court.

Overall, eight jurisdictions take bets now, and four other had plans to do so sometime this year. The trio mentioned above are the first wave of what could be another three or four states that may also approve legal wagering.

Though Reynolds signed the bill Monday, it doesn’t mean Iowa residents and visitors can place a bet Tuesday. State regulators will still need to finalize implementation and oversight of the nascent industry, but observers are hopeful Iowa could take it first bet as soon as the upcoming 2019 NFL season.

With a host of in-person gaming facilities as well as online offerings, Iowa could garner several hundred million dollars in total wagers annually if it meets similar standards set by other states.

Sports wagering legalization was floated in Des Moines shortly after the Supreme Court struck down the federal ban in May 2018, after the Iowa legislative session ended for that year. Shortly after, lawmakers began plans for legislation ahead of the 2019 session, and the bill moved steadily through both the House and Senate in recent months.

The final bill, with provisions for both in-person and online betting, was overwhelmingly passed by both chambers. Reynolds, a Republican, didn’t champion the GOP-backed bill as did governors in other states considering sports betting, but ultimately signed the measure.

Reynolds move keeps Iowa as one of the more well-rounded gaming markets in the Midwest and the U.S. overall. Iowa has more than two dozen riverboat and Native American casinos which will be eligible to apply to take sports bets.

Iowa Market Enables Potential

With some of the nation’s most competitive gaming tax rates as well as most well-rounded array of offerings, Iowa could be one of the more lucrative markets in the nation.

The most important aspect of the bill will likely be the online provisions. Only two other states take online bets now, and they see the majority of their bets placed through the internet. Even as other states prepare to take online bets, including Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Washington D.C. and Indiana, Iowa will continue to stay at the forefront of gaming developments.

Iowa bettors will also likely have a myriad of options to place bets. Each eligible land-based casinos will be permitted to subcontract up two, third-party vendors to take wagers via the internet. Leading purveyors from other states, such as FanDuel and DraftKings will be likely entrants to the market, giving it high-profile operators with significant brand recognition to help entice players to the legal market.

Any eligible player with a mobile device and within state lines will be able to place a bet from any local in the state. Players will need to register first at a lessened in-person facility, but that mandate sunsets in 2021.

Operators will also enjoy some of the lowest tax rates in the nation. At 7.5 percent total, the Iowa rate rivals Nevada’s as the lowest in the nation. This should spark multiple partnerships and foster one of the nation’s most competitive marketplaces.

With a host of terrestrial facilities already, Iowa will be able to compliment its market with what could be one of the most well-rounded host of online options.

Other States Could Follow Suit

With another state passing a sports betting bill, the pressure on the nation’s remaining jurisdictions only increases, especially those in the Midwest. Iowa neighbors Illinois and Missouri are undoubtedly watching the developments across their borders as they debate bills in their respective statehouses this month, and others considering legislation further away could be impacted to.

One of the nation’s earliest adaptor of licensed casinos, Iowa has strategically placed its gaming facilities near its borders to attract out-of-state visitors. As one of the earliest adaptors of in-person and online sports betting, this will continue Iowa’s tradition of doing so.

That is until, or if, Iowa’s neighbors can legalize sports betting themselves. In the meantime, Iowa furthers its reputation as a leading gaming state and helps push other states to follow suit.

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