Iowa sports betting bill clears Senate

18 April 2019

The Iowa Senate has voted through a bill that would legalise sports betting and daily fantasy sports (DFS) contests in the state.

Senate File 617 passed by a vote of 31-18 and will now head to the House for more discussion and debate. The bill does not yet have a date for its first hearing in the state’s House, though the state's regular session runs until May 3.

SF617 is seeking to permit in-person, online and mobile sports betting in Iowa. Consumers wanting to bet on mobile would need to first register in-person at a licenced venue, but this measure would only be in place until January 1, 2021.

Licences to offer sports betting services in the state would each cost $75,000 (£57,580/€66,600), plus an annual renewal fee of $5,000.

Operators would be able to enter partnerships with up to two entities to set up additional sites for sports betting, a process commonly known as skin sites. This would only permitted if the third party did not already hold a licence in Iowa.

Licence-holders in Iowa would be taxed at a rate of 6.75% of their annual sports wagering net receipts. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission would assume responsibility for regulation of the market.

Betting would be permitted across professional and collegiate sports, but there would be a ban on betting on player performance for athletes representing a college team based in Iowa.

Senate File 617 is an evolution of Senate Study Bill 1168, which was filed in the state in February with the aim of legalising wagering on professional and collegiate sporting events at Iowa’s 19 casinos, racetracks and other gambling facilities.

Image: Jason Riedy