If state policymakers legalize sports betting, Iowa casinos are aiming to get the business. Iowa Gaming Association executive director Wes Ehrecke says the federal “barrier” to sports betting may soon be removed.
“In the past 25 years, only one state has been allowed to have sports betting and that’s been Nevada and New Jersey challenged the constitutionality of that and the Supreme Court heard arguments last Monday,” Ehrecke says. “…There’s a lot of people thinking they’re going to rule in favor of New Jersey and, if they do, that would allow all states to opt in.”
Iowa’s casino industry will propose legislation in 2018 that would legalize sports betting in Iowa at the 19 state-licensed casinos.
“Like other gambling games, it would allow people to bet on sports within our casinos, regulated by our (Iowa) Racing and Gaming Commission,” Ehrecke says.
Ehrecke cites reports indicating Americans will bet about $150 billion this year on sporting events, but only five percent of that will be done legally in the state of Nevada.
“So it’s flourished in an illegal activity way,” Ehrecke says. “No age limits or anything like that.”
Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett — a Republican candidate for governor — yesterday called for legalizing sports betting in Iowa, but Corbett would prefer the Iowa Lottery manage the wagering on football, baseball and basketball games. That would create thousands of sites around the state for placing bets and Corbett said the Iowa Lottery is a “trusted brand” that could manage the betting volume.
Anticipating a 2018 ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court that would legalize sports betting beyond just the State of Nevada, Mississippi and Pennsylvania already have state laws to allow sports betting. This past year, legislation was introduced, but not enacted in 16 other states that would have legalized “sports book” operations.