Reynolds signs law legalizing sports betting

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Monday signed a bill into law that will allow some legal sports betting in Iowa.

The law, which establishes a legal way to bet on professional, collegiate and international sporting events, also legalizes fantasy sports contests and internet fantasy sports betting.

It delays betting based on college sporting event statistics until May 2020.

The new law excludes betting on some events, including minor leagues and in-state college team players.

Sports betting is limited to those 21 and older.

Earlier this year, before the Iowa Legislature passed the measure to the governor, state Rep. Mike Sexton, R-Rockwell City, reasoned during a legislative forum that sports betting was already going on illegally.

The bill will allow Iowa casinos to run sports betting operations if they apply for and receive a special license.

Those licenses would cost about $15,000. Revenue generated by the sale of those licenses would be used to hire three new employees for the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission who would monitor sports betting.

Bets would be placed by using handheld devices and smart phones.

“I’m not exactly sure what the future of sports betting is going to be,” Sexton said during the forum in March.

Sports betting wouldn’t be a huge revenue source, anyway, according to Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink, R-Fort Dodge.

“We know there’s no money in it,” he said during the March forum, which was held at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge.

Reynolds, a Republican, has declined to suggest whether she supported the expansion of gambling in Iowa.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission already regulates the 19 state-licensed casinos in Iowa and its administrator, Brian Ohorilko, has said most of the state’s casinos are expected to set aside onsite space for betting.

The casinos also will contract with online and mobile application vendors to set up bets electronically.

Casinos that would accommodate the new sports betting would pay a 6.75 percent tax on their profits from sports betting.

That’s estimated to generate $2 million to $4 million annually for the state, with the first $300,000 going to help pay for gambling treatment programs.

The commission has been developing rules that will determine how sports betting will work at the casinos, online and through a mobile application.

Betting is expected to begin as early as this summer.

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