Iowa could join progression against illegal sports betting

Mike Burvee

Regional Sports Editor 

The State of Iowa could be the first in the Midwest to legalize Sports Betting with a bill being brought to the Iowa Legislature in late February of 2018. The latest amendments were made in early March, just eight days after being introduced and has been put more on the back burner since. Other nearby states including Illinois, Indiana, Kansas and Missouri have also introduced bills to their respective Legislature’s as of late last year. It took one year to add six more states to Nevada, the lone state in the Nation who has legalized sports betting as of Spring 2018. The real question, is it right for Iowa and is now the best time to adopt the policy?

According to Casey Clark, VP of Strategic Communications for the American Gaming Association, an estimated $150 billion is wagered illegally each year. The AGA has been working to educate stakeholders on the importance of providing protection for bettors, something they wouldn’t be guaranteed if they chose to bet illegally.

Prairie Meadows thinks that change will be coming soon and they’re getting ready in advance for the crowds of people who might funnel their way into Altoona if the bill is passed. The casino announced earlier this month they were partnering with William Hill U.S. and are currently constructing a sports book on their fourth floor, spanning 8,600 square feet. They are the first casino in Iowa to make the move and would serve as precedent for any of the other 15 casinos throughout Iowa if they were to follow suit.

One of the more landmark approvals and victories for sports bettors nationwide was when Delaware had their bill passed for legalization. It was a landmark decision for them to have their bill passed with Nevada being the lone state prior and thus, monopolized the market. According to PlayUSA, the state pulled in over $300,000 on their first day of legalized betting with the state keeping $17,000. PlayUSA goes on to mention that over a year’s span, Delaware would make about $6.5 million, minus the amount they’d be taxed by the government. Since Delaware was added, six other states have been added to the list and New York (upstate) has most recently joined the list.

To read the full article, pick up this weeks edition of the Sigourney News-Review.