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Prairie Meadows Prepares for Legalized Sports Betting for Iowans

The legalization of sports betting continues to move forward for Iowa as committees in each chamber approved separate yet similar proposals that would enable Iowans to bet on professional and college sporting events as well as daily fantasy sports websites. These proposals would allow Iowa’s casinos to offer sports gambling in 19 casinos and online. Although online bets would be available, to initially register Iowans would need to visit a casino in person

Under the bill, revenue from sports betting would be taxed, and the industry would be regulated by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. This House bill contains both: a 6.75 percent tax on revenue and annual fees of $15,000 for sports betting and $5,000 for daily fantasy sports.

In preparation for the bill to pass, Prairie Meadows has transformed a portion of its fourth-floor horse racing simulcast area into a Las Vegas-style sports book and bar as part of its $1.5 million renovation project. The space now has walls of televisions to display games and betting odds for gamblers waiting to place legal bets on games.

Prairie Meadows has reportedly been working on its plans for the sports book since May 2018 when the announcement of the U.S. Supreme Court striking down the federal ban on legalized sports wagering flooded the news.

This renovation might seem like an ambition preparation, however the casino does have a back up plan if things do not go as anticipated. If for some reason the sports betting bill does not pass, Prairie Meadows officials reportedly said the casino would use the space for horse racing simulcasts. 

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