Last week reportedly saw the Iowa State Senate pass a piece of proposed legislation that would legalize land-based and online sportsbetting and allow residents of ‘The Hawkeye State’ to wager on the outcomes of a wide range of collegiate and professional sports.
First hurdle cleared:
According to a report from The Gazette newspaper, the 50-member body approved Senate File 617 by a margin of 31 to 18 on Wednesday afternoon with the legislation now due to head to the similarly Republican-controlled Iowa House of Representatives for an analogous vote.
As written, the legislation would reportedly allow every one of Iowa’s many land-based casinos to offer sportsbetting in exchange for agreeing to pay an annual licensing fee as well as a 6.75% tax on associated revenues. The measure calls for the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission to oversee all such operations and would also legalize wagering via daily fantasy sports sites such as those offered by FanDuel Incorporated and DraftKings Incorporated.
The Gazette reported that Senate File 617, which was introduced by Iowa State Senator, Roby Smith, passed last week’s significant hurdle without public debate and moreover includes a provision that would forbid online punters from wagering on collegiate sports.
“I believe what we’re doing in this bill is the right thing to do. Our task was to establish the proper regulatory framework that promotes a safe, secure and reliable entity and I believe we have accomplished that goal. Sports wagering will no longer be acceptable in the dark. The sun is shining and Iowans will be able to participate legally and responsibly.”
The introduction of Senate File 617 came in the wake of May’s invalidation by the United States Supreme Court of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which had largely been responsible for limiting legalized sportsbetting to casinos in Nevada. This cancellation subsequently prompted the states of Delaware, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Mississippi, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Mexico to launch sports wagering services of their own while up to 30 others including the likes of Washington, Indiana and Arizona are known to be considering whether to follow suit via similar legislative measures.