Sunday marks one month for sports gambling in Iowa, Cy-Hawk game this weekend expected to bring business

MASON CITY — Sunday marks one month since sports gambling was legalized in the state of Iowa, and the administrator of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission says things seem to be running smoothly at the state’s casinos.

Brian Ohorilko says from a compliance standpoint, the commission is very happy with how things have gone to this point.   “There have been a few bugs here and there with regard to the online apps, things that are more cosmetic, nothing operationally, and so from that standpoint we’ve been very pleased.”

Ohorilko says casino operators have been pleased with the sports betting traffic they’ve seen so far in their facilities.  “As we sit here today, things have appeared to go pretty smoothly. I think the operators that have launched already are pleased with the numbers and the attendance. At least at this point, things seem to be going well.”

Ohorilko says people should be patient with their local casino as sports gambling is still in the early stages of being implemented in the state.  “I still caution people that we are early on in the process, and one of the reasons why it was beneficial to launch in mid-August for those companies that were ready was to try to work out some of the bugs prior to the busiest season for sports wagering, and that’s what started last weekend with NFL season. We’ll start really getting a good handle as to what could be potential issues that come up.”

Besides the start of NFL season last weekend, one of the big weekends for sports gambling in the state could come up with the Iowa-Iowa State game. Ohorilko says the casinos wanted to try to have sportsbook operations going in anticipation of some friendly wagers for this weekend’s game. ”NFL season is important, but this game this weekend, a lot of people are interested in it, and I think a lot of people just to have a legal, friendly wager on the game, I think there’s something that people are excited about. So we’ll see how the numbers go. I will say that until the market has settled, and all 18 and of the casinos that have applied for a sports wagering license are up and running, I don’t think we’ll have the true numbers, that true feeling for what it will look like, but I do think that this weekend will likely be the busiest to this point in time for the state.”

Sports betting operations are open for business in 14 of the state’s 19 commercial casinos. The Diamond Jo Worth casino near Northwood opened their sportsbook operation two weeks ago, with plans to introduce their online and betting apps by the end of the year.