On May 13, 2019 Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed legislation approving sports betting for the state. With very little fanfare from Gov. Reynolds, it appeared almost as if this change to sports betting laws should be kept under wraps.
Becoming the eighth state to legalize sports betting, Iowa now joins Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia.
The changes in law take effect immediately, and now it is upon the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission to develop the framework and regulations for sports betting. The Commission anticipates sports betting to be up and running by July or August this year, which in my opinion is extremely optimistic. Nevertheless, there appears to be urgency to make it happen, in readiness for the beginning of the NFL season.
Sports Betting Conditions
In line with other state gambling age requirements, the minimum age to wager on sports betting is 21. Bets can be placed at any of the current Iowa casinos physically or via online (once they have provided ID of meeting the age requirement).
The detailed rules for sports betting have yet to be properly considered and determined. DraftKing and Fantasy Duel sports (online) has been approved to be included as sports betting, however eSports remains to be seen. College games can be wagered on, but no in-game betting will be allowed. As an additional condition for College game betting, no bets will be allowed until 2020 to allow for proper education of athletes and participants.
Mobile betting has confirmed to be included in the legislation and is therefore approved. Originally mobile betting was a point of contention, but it has finally be pushed through as a legalized betting channel.
It took a while to get here
In 2018 four proposed Bills were put forward for Government to debate upon. These four Bills contained vested interests lobbied by casinos, the state lottery, major sports leagues and horse racing clubs. Naturally, each lobby group was competing to expand or limit the scope of sports betting boundaries. Months of debate ensured with one final Bill being passed in May 2019, legalizing sports betting.
Get ready for sports betting in Iowa. July and August are the planned months for the first bets to be placed.