A legislative leader says if the feds allow it, Iowa’s state-licensed casinos should be given the opportunity to take bets on sporting events. Senate President Jack Kibbie has introduced a bill on the subject.

“I think sports betting is going on now in Iowa,” Kibbie says. “And so I’d like and raise some tax money through that.” Kibbie suggests wagering on sporting events would be conducted at the state-licensed casinos. Kibbie says “at this time” there probably isn’t enough support in the legislature to pass his bill.

“There’s more outside of the legislature, you know. In my hometown I’ve had people ask me (about it),” Kibbie says. “They didn’t know it’s against federal law.” Kibbie, a Democrat, is from Emmetsburg which is home to the Wild Rose Casino. A bill has been introduced in congress that would give states the authority to allow sports betting.

In 1992 Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection act which banned states from being in the bookmaking business. However, the four states which allowed sports betting in 1992 — Delaware, Nevada, Oregon and Montana — were allowed to continue it within their borders.

Governor Culver says it’s “too early” to say whether he’d support or oppose this sports betting proposal or any other gaming-related changes legislators are considering. “I’ve not seen any of the legislation that’s been drafted,” Culver says. “I’ve not had any discussion with either the gaming industry or (legislative) leaders in terms of what…that would include.”

Another proposal would see legislators vote to allow large-scale poker tournaments in the conference centers and hotels which are adjacent to the state-licensed casinos.