First Iowa Sportsbooks Could Open Doors in Mid-August

Legal sports betting could arrive to Iowa as early as mid-August if the state’s gambling regulator approves the rules that will govern its nascent sports gambling industry during a scheduled meeting this week.

Iowa was one of several states to legalize sports betting this year. And given the fact that the start of sports betting is now subject to a single regulatory approval, the state will most certainly outpace neighboring Illinois in the launch of wagering on sporting events at its casinos and online.

The Governor of Illinois, J.B. Prtizker, signed into law a bill authorizing the provision of sports betting services on the territory of the state last month. And Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law Senate File 617 in May. The piece legalized betting on professional and college leagues at the state’s land-based casinos and online.

As mentioned earlier, the mid-August launch of sports betting in the state depends on whether the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission will approve the proposed rules that will govern the practice during a meeting set to take place this Tuesday.

A July 11 public hearing saw certain modifications and technical corrections being made to the draft rules. Overall, these are believed to be ready for consideration by the Iowa gambling regulator, Brian Ohorilko, Administrator for the Racing and Gaming Commission, told media on Friday.

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Under Senate File 617, which was recently signed into law, the state’s brick-and-mortar casinos will be able to offer in-person and digital sports betting services. Bettors will be able to place their wagers on most professional and college sports as long as these do not involve in-state college teams. The state also legalized daily fantasy sports as part of its most recent gambling expansion effort.

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All but one of Iowa’s 19 brick-and-mortar casinos have applied for sports betting licenses with the state’s gambling regulator. Casino Queen Marquette was the only property that has not applied for a license yet, but Mr. Ohorilko said that they believe it will do that eventually.

If the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission approves the proposed betting rules this coming Tuesday, the state’s casinos will be able to go live with legal sports betting at noon on August 15.

The gambling venues will be able to enter partnerships with third-party betting companies. These third-party operators will, too, have to obtain licenses with the local regulator in order to be able to operate on the territory of the state. Iowa’s casinos have already begun negotiating potential partnerships with third parties, and some have already secured such partnerships.

The US division of British bookmaker William Hill has scored several deals to operate sportsbooks at Iowa casinos as part of its US expansion strategy. It emerged early this year that the operator has partnered Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino to operate a sportsbook at the property.

Earlier this month, it was announced that William Hill would run the sports betting operation of Isle Casino Waterloo and Isle Casino Bettendorf.

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