With the stroke of a pen, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds can bring sports betting to Iowa.
SF 617, which was passed by the state Senate last week, cleared the House 67-31 on Monday. Now it heads to the Governor’s desk for the final hurdle that stands between Iowans and legal sports betting.
The bill is sponsored by Republicans Rep. Bobby Kaufman and Sen. Roby Smith, but has bipartisan support in the legislature. The bill would allow sports betting on both professional and collegiate sporting events.
If passed, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission would start to develop rules for casinos to implement. The rules would be adopted in July or August and sports betting could start in Iowa by the start of football season. The IRGC would act as the governing body for the market.
Sports betting would be available at any of the 19 casinos in the state. Gamblers would be able to wager online if they visit a casino in-person and verify with the staff that they are at least 21 years old. Daily fantasy sports operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel would be allowed to offer sports betting on their sites.
The bill would charge operators $45,000 for its initial license and a $10,000 annual renewal fee. According to other outlets, these numbers were compromised numbers in between what the Senate and the House were originally asking for. The state will tax sports betting revenue at 6.75 percent.
Once the bill reaches Reynolds, she will have three days to sign the bill. That time frame is increased to 30 days if the bill reaches her after the legislative session is over. The legislative session is set to end this weekend.
According to the Des Moines Register, Reynolds has not indicated whether or not she supports the legislation.
In 2018, Iowa gaming revenue was $1.46 billion. According to a 2017 study, Iowans are projected to wager $4 billion and also capture much of the Nebraska sports betting market.