Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission administrator Brian Ohorilko says the organization is ready for whatever sports betting might bring to it. He says they’ve already been watching and researching the issue of sports gambling.
“We’ve been doing this actually for a number of years with fantasy sports — which had been discussed three to four years ago — and that has transitioned obviously with the latest Supreme Court ruling into just traditional sports wagering,” Ohorilkoh says. The U.S. Supreme Court ruling allows all states to permit sports betting. Ohorilko says the casino operators have also been researching sports betting.
“There’s definitely a lot of energy and excitement from the operators and that requires the commission to make sure that we are aware of all of the issues related to sports wagering,” Ohorilko says, “and the commission would be prepared if we the legislature were to ask the commission to assist with the regulation of that.”
He says they should be able to handle the additional duties of regulating sports betting.
“Our role would be quite extensive up front. Drafting rules, getting regs in place. But once that is in place, then I think the day-to-day regulation would certainly be manageable and there wouldn’t be a need for much additional staff,” according to Ohorilko. He says the will only play a supporting role after the decision is made.
“With sports wagering the commission has not position — but we will be ready to carry out whatever the legislature asks us to do,” he says. The casino industry which the IRGC regulates has been lobbying legislators to let state-licensed casinos run sports book operations . The Iowa Lottery’s board of directors is also having its staff research how a sports lottery might work here. Iowa Lottery officials say several of the lottery’s largest retailers have said that if sports betting becomes legal in Iowa, they want the option of offering it in their stores.