Iowa is the newest state to legalize sports betting. Governor Kim Reynolds signed sports betting bill SF 617 into law on Monday. The bill allows for both brick-and-mortar casinos as well as online and mobile betting. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission will be the regulatory body for all sports betting activity.
The bill allows for all 19 of the state’s casinos to apply for a sports betting license. The application fee will be $45,000 and there will be a $10,000 annual renewal fee. Iowa has set its sights on having their sportsbooks open before the kickoff of the 2019 NFL season.
For those wishing to place bets on their phones or online, Iowa is requiring that bettors register in-person at their desired betting casino before being allowed to place bets online. However, that requirement will go away after the end of the 2020 calendar year.
Iowa won’t have the biggest market in the nation, but the state does draw a lot of business from neighboring states like Minnesota and Nebraska. Nebraskans are notorious for traveling to Iowa to gamble. It is reported that they spend over $300 million a year in Iowa casinos, a number that will surely go up with the addition of sports betting. Some experts believe that a fully mature Iowa sports betting market could generate over $4 billion in annual sports betting.
That potential increase in revenue is very much needed by the state of Iowa. While the rest of the country has seen a 3% increase in commercial casino revenue from 2017 to 2018, Iowa has only seen a tenth of that, 0.3%.
The tax rate on sports betting revenue will be at a modest 6.75 percent, compared to a state like Pennsylvania (36 percent). As with every other state to legalize sports betting, Iowa is not incorporating the “integrity fee” or the use of “official league data” for live betting.
Since the 2018 ruling to lift the federal ban on sports betting, the topic has been highly discussed in Iowa. The state has seen a large number of sports betting bills go through the system, and it was only a matter of time before one became law.
While sports betting can legally begin on July 4, many believe that it won’t be until the end of July or more realistically August before it begins. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission still needs to establish rules for sports betting, so that will likely take time. As long as sports betting is operational before the start of the 2019 NFL season, everything should be fine in the Hawkeye State.
Expect the newly created FOX Bet to find its way into Iowa through Eldorado’s Isle Casino Hotel Bettendorf. FanDuel is a partner of Boyd Gaming and DraftKings has teamed up with Caesars, both companies have properties in Iowa. It will be interesting to see what other partnerships arise in Iowa.