The Racing and Gaming Commission of Iowa gave its final go-ahead Tuesday to legalize sports wagering, including fantasy sports contests, and approve license applications made by its state-regulated casinos.
Legalized betting at 18 casinos of Iowa is planned to be taken as early as noon on Aug. 15 thanks to the commission’s approval of sports betting contracts at its meeting in West Des Moines. The casinos will oversee bets taken on-site as well as online betting.
In terms of fantasy sports, gamblers will create virtual teams that consist of real pro athletes from a certain sport. They then compete against each other and the results will be based on how their players perform in actual competitions.
Supreme Court of the United States cleared the way for sports betting beyond the borders of Nevada in a ruling that was issued last year. And earlier this year, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill into law that allows such bets on most college and professional athletic events at the casinos that have been designated.
The new law establishes a 6.75% state tax rate on sports-betting revenues coming into casinos. The owners of the casinos are also required to pay an initial $45,000 license fee and renewal fees amounting to $10,000.
Only those who are at least 21 years old will be allowed to engage in legalized sports wagering. With this new law, it is expected that the casinos can also attract sports-betting tourists from other states. And according to media reports, mobile apps that are used to place such wagers will be designed to work only within Iowa’s borders.
However, there are restrictions on some types of wagers. In-game betting involving college teams which call Iowa home will not be allowed.
According to the American Gaming Association, the state’s gaming industry employs about 15,000 people and has an economic effect estimated at $2.5 billion in total. The association also reports that the wages for the industry amount to just under $620 million per year.
The approval comes just before the college football season toward the end of August. And then the National Football League is going to start its games during the first week of September.