Governor signs sports betting bill into law

Governor Kim Reynolds has signed the bill into law legalizing betting on college and professional sports. If you are at least 21 years old you will be able to place a sports bets at any of the state’s 19 casinos or online if you go to a casino and register in person for that option. The bill also makes it legal to bet and win at fantasy sports websites like DraftKings and FanDuel. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission will now take over as Commission Administrator Brian Ohorilko says they prepare the rules to carry out the law.

“Part of that process — just like any other time the commission would promulgate rules — rules would be available for stakeholders and the public to comment on that,” Ohorilko explains. He says they can get started on the issue right away.

“This particular process, the legislation contemplates emergency rule making, and so the steps will happen more quickly than normal. But the commission will make sure that everyone gets an opportunity to provide input in order to come up with the best product possible for sports wagering,” Ohorilko explains. Ohorilko says there will be a second track following the emergency rule process.

“There will be a parallel track for rules to also go through the normal process,”Ohorilko says. “And so, that process will be like any other where there will be multiple opportunities for public input. And will go through the legislative oversight committee, which is the Rules Review committee.” Ohorilko says the commission staff have been preparing for this possibility since the 2018 U-S Supreme Court ruling that legalized sports betting in all states.

“We really had no way to predict if or when this would be legalized in Iowa. But it was a situation where — if the Commission were asked to regulate it — the commission needed to be prepared.” He says they have been doing a lot of research and review.

“The Commission staff has been watching other jurisdictions. We have draft copies of rules from the various jurisdictions where sports has been approved. We’ve made contacts in those jurisdictions, and so all of those things will help us be prepared — not only for rule-making — but for implementation when it is time to do that,” according to Ohorilko. Governor Reynolds had not indicated what she planned to do with the bill, only saying that the support for and against it had been running 50-50 after the end of the legislative session. Critics say this is the largest expansion of gambling in the state’s history. Supporters say people have been betting on sporting events for centuries and the new state law will set up consumer protections to keep bad actors from taking advantage of betters.