Iowa Sports Betting Bill Clears First Subcommittee Vote

A bill legalizing sports betting in Iowa cleared a first legislative hurdle, after it got support from a House Subcommittee on Wednesday. Local news outlet Des Moines Register reported that the legislative piece will next be reviewed by the House Commerce Committee.

Committee members are expected to vote on House Study Bill 592 next week. It is believed that the legislation will gain support from that committee, too.

Iowa lawmakers have pointed out that the current version of the bill would not be its final one and that there will be “open and transparent” discussions over the future of sports betting within the state’s borders.

Similarly to other states, Iowa is looking to craft and pass a sports betting legislation before the Supreme Court of the Unites States announces its decision in relation to New Jersey’s betting case. Last year, the nation’s top court decided to review New Jersey’s lawsuit against a long-standing federal ban on the provision of sports betting services.

The court held its first hearing on the case in early December. Sports betting advocates interpreted somewhat positive comments during the hearing as rays of optimism for the future of this type of gambling activity. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the case this summer.

If the federal ban is lifted, this would make it possible for individual states to determine whether they want to legalize sports betting.

Iowa’s Sports Betting Legalization Push

Talking with local media, House Rep. Jake Highfill said that he and his fellow lawmakers will keep on working on the bill to craft regulations that would secure the success of the state’s sports betting market.

While the piece’s contents are yet to be determined and deliberated on, what we know so far is that Iowa’s 18 physical casinos will be allowed to provide sports betting options at both land-based sports books and via the Internet. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission will be tasked with regulating the state’s sports betting sector. Bettors will be allowed to place their wagers on professional and college sports events.

House Rep. Highfill told media that they are also planning to add a mobile betting provision in House Study Bill 592. According to the lawmaker, mobile betting is an important condition for the complete elimination of the black market.

A report by the American Gaming Association found that Americans wager more than $150 billion illegally every year.

Iowa’s sports betting bill drew criticism from the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball even before it cleared its first legislative hurdle on Wednesday. While the two sports leagues have not confirmed the source of their ire, it is believed that their discontent with the bill stemmed from the lack of clarity over whether Iowa’s sports betting industry would contribute a special fee for the protection of integrity of sports.

In a recent hearing before the New York State Senate, where the legalization of sports betting has too been discussed for some time now, NBA officials proposed the addition of a provision that would require local sports books to pay each league an integrity fee which would be account for 1% of the total bets placed on each of the leagues.

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